Middle-aged misfit Carrie McFadden won’t let people tell her how to love. At 43, she sets out on a cross-country trip to confront her old love, Johnny Turner, from her days as a scientist. On the road, Carrie begins a novel that she has been trying to write for years. But in making the trip, she is neglecting her sick mother, and as writes, life closes in on her. In her novel, the Mexican immigrant Teresa must fend off her employer’s advances and her boyfriend’s violence. Carrie herself faces a lonely man’s overtures, a caregiver’s demands that she visit her mother, and a doctor’s belief that a woman travelling alone should be medicated for mental illness. As Carrie approaches Johnny in San Francisco, her life and her novel converge. Like Teresa, she must choose the direction her life will take if she wants to survive.