Despite being born into abject poverty Doriene is determined to make her way up and out. At six, she disses school. She opts to spend the day in nature examining the thick woods that serve as a playground in her rural town. Her grandmother is raising Dorine and her siblings after their parents take off for the land of opportunity found up north.
“Grandma was stern, old, and mean” reports Doriene. After being found napping on a stone her grandmother gives her young charge an option: either go to school or work. Doriene sees going into the big house on the land as a way to earn a few pennies. She has no plans for sticking around and becoming a sharecropper. She learns to show her sass and is soon earning pennies from the white dinner guests her grandmother cooks and serves.
Her grandmother's employer asks for Doriene especially for dinner functions so that he can bring her home afterward. After a few functions Doreen is raped and shamed into keeping the secret that erases her childhood forever.
A smart girl, Doriene blackmails her rapist and gathers enough money to make it north. Once in New York, she takes up with a tribe of traveling boosters and con-artist learning the game and making enough money to send back home and travel in style when she visits.
Dorine first love is a big time booster from back home who welcomes her into fold of con-games. He too is conned by Doreen because he doesn't know she has given birth to his son. Doriene slips away back south once she starts showing. He too is conned by Doriene because he doesn't know she has given birth to his son. He is so consumed with making money that he doesn't realize that he is being played.
On her rise to fame and making more money than she has seen at one time, she aspires for even more. Doriene gets sloppy putting the entire con operation in jeopardy as she lands a five year prison bid. She handles her time and comes out ready to rebuild her empire.
Lies have a way of catching up with the source. Dorienes' son finds out that she is his mother, and desires to live with her up north, despite her leaving him in the care of relatives when he was born. All the gifts and promises in the world are worth less in comparison to getting to know his birth mother.
Doriene helped her son's father finance the purchase of a bar and he and his son work side by side, neither knowing the blood line. A fatal slip and a math connection bring the lie to light.
Doriene, Sonny, and Jr. work through decades of lies and betrayals to become a family with a lasting legacy. Doriene got what she wanted, she makes it from a poverty filled childhood to the flash, glamor and lights of New York City.
Best part of story, including ending:
I loved Doriene's tenacity, she was a go getter who handled her business with very little formal education.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Dorience gets caught shoplifting and has to face her crew.
Opinion about the main character:
Doriene was selfish and cold at times, she should have used some of her money in pursuit of education.