Frances, a Chinese-American student at an academically competitive school in San Francisco, has always had it drilled into her to be a straight-A student so that she can go to medical school. But is being a doctor what she wants? Raised to be utterly obedient to her demanding mother, it has never occurred to Frances to question her own feelings and desires. But one day, she winds up in speech class and realises that she has a hidden talent. Does she dare to challenge the mother who has sacrificed everything for her? A powerful story of family, duty and the relationship between a mother and daughter, set in the 1980s.