Behind the Scenes at the Museum is a family history told by Ruby Lennox from the moment of her conception, an intriguing opening that allows her to form opinions of her mother, being privy to her thoughts and feelings, before she is even born. She uses objects such as buttons and photographs to travel back in time to tell the tale of generations past in sections labeled as footnotes. The story does at times feel like a series of unhappy marriages and untimely deaths yet it rarely feels too heavy. Ruby is matter of fact about the deaths and often mentions them in passing many chapters before they are described fully.
Ruby lives with her parents and sisters in a flat above the family pet shop. Her mother Bunty struggles with the demands of motherhood and life with her adulterous husband, an unfortunately familiar situation for the women in her family. We are told of sweethearts lost to the war and women running away only to regret their separation from their children for the rest of their life. There are some truly heart wrenching moments and many comic ones including a disastrous trip to Scotland with their neighbours.