The book is an adaptation of the life of the author and her only son. The main characters are Myra Tate, the mother and her son, Lorenzo. The story gives an honest depiction of a poor Black mother trying to raise her children alone. Although she had been a strong and loving mother, her only son ends up in prison. Myra needs to know if she contributed to her son getting caught up in the grime of South Philadelphia. While looking back trying to understand her son, she is compelled to look back just as deeply at her own life.