This is the story of a mother's relationship with her two very different adult daughters. The first person narrator is the mother, who describes herself as:
In real life I am a large, big.boned woman with rough, man.working hands. In the winter I wear flannel nightgowns to bed and overalls dur.ing the day. I can kill and clean a hog as mercilessly as a man. My fat keeps me hot in zero weather. I can work outside all day, breaking ice to get water for washing; I can eat pork liver cooked over the open fire minutes after it comes steaming from the hog.
She understands her daughter Maggie's timid nature, but is in awe of her beautiful and sophisticated daughter Dee. Secretly she wishes for a reconciliation between her daughters and between herself and Dee. However, her own life on the farm keeps her from pursuing this.