"A girl comes of age against the knife". So begins the story of Betty Carpenter. Born in a bathtub in 1954 to a Cherokee father and white mother, Betty inhabits a world of poverty and violence. But despite the hardship she faces, Betty is resilient. Her fierce love for her sisters and her father's brilliant stories are kindling for the fire of her own imagination, and in the face of all she bears witness to, Betty discovers an escape in the redemptive power of words.