A young girl and her two brothers are raised by two parents who initially mean well, but are made bitter through years of poverty and sickness. The young girl, the narrator of this story, recounts her childhood being raised by parents who won't let her out of the house or socialize with other children, while her older brothers practically live on the streets and become addicted to drugs and involved with unsavory characters. In time, the young girl grows up after years of reading books and finds love and employment, only to have these too tainted by tragedy. In this fictional coming-of-age story, the girl must overcome all the obstacles set in place by her family and early lovers to discover herself and take charge of a life that she learns is worth living.
There is an interesting story-telling style in this book that keeps the reader guessing if this fact or fiction, keeping personal details like names private, while still creating a powerful and real world with characters and events. The narrator shoulders her burden with dignity and poise, balancing the love she has for her family with the difficulties they heap onto her. By the time she is able to move out and strike out on her own, readers begin to rejoice for her victory, but the tendrils of abusive relationships throughout her life continue to snake out and choke away the fleeting joys she manages to attain until the book's conclusions. This is a story about figuring out how to be happy and overcoming the things that get in the way. It is an inspirational, if occasionally painful, story that readers can draw important lessons from.