This is a memoir of Elizabeth McCullough's girlhood and young adulthood spent mainly in Belfast and Derry during World War II, and just after the war. After her parents' marriage had broken down, she lived with her glamorous mother, whose treatment of her varied from benign indifference to more active neglect. As the "square peg" of the title, and rebellious in a strict middle-class society, Elizabeth found scope for her bohemian tendencies in her job running the photography department at Queen's University. In this period, she met members of Belfast's lively artistic circle, such as John Luke, Colin Middleton and Langtry Lynas. The account, which is counterpointed by extracts from her diaries for 1941 and 1948, ends with her first marriage in 1950.