Fifteen –year- old Baby Heart is in love with Bobby Joe Miller and dead set on becoming a nurse. She is a happy carefree student until her mother is stricken with lung cancer. Baby heart gives up her life to save her mother. The family of sharecroppers can’t pay for lifesaving surgery that her mother needs in 1946. Baby Heart pays for it the only way she knows how ----- through marriage to john El Murphy, the man who owns the land her family farms and everything else in White Chalk where they live.
John El is controlling and jealous. In a fit of jealous rage, he shoots her in the heart one day when he comes upon her helping strange men whose car is stuck on the muddy road between White Chalk and Marysville. Baby heart survives. With assistance from her brothers, Roosevelt and Lincoln, she escapes to Detroit.
This story is about a compassionate teenage girl coming of age in the rural south in the 1940s. She is a survivor who overcomes tremendous odds to fulfill her dreams and help other abused women.