Convinced by her mother that she is a child of Satan, Laura Scarapelli, a beautiful, intelligent Italian begins to write at an early age to escape poverty, horrendous abuse, fear of God and most of her world. When Laura refuses to attend her high school graduation, despite the fact that she is class valedictorian, a teacher, Sue Finley, steps up to help. Sue, a widow with no children, immediately finds her maternal wings and helps Laura into college and begin to win in her struggle to know God. Because she feels loved, Laura also begins to feel she belongs to the world around her.
Laura's world becomes big with pretty clothes, piano lessons, car trips, people and kindness. A Whitfield favorite son, Hugh Brehm, falls in love with Laura but she is too busy learning to live and still struggling with trust issues. Hugh studies law and Laura goes to Yale where Sue hopes Laura will have exposure for her writing. Sue dies about the same time an interested professor sends Laura's book to a New York publisher. Laura realizes she does love Hugh but when she turns to him for comfort, she learns he is engaged to someone else. Fear returns and she once again hears her mother's words...God cannot love you.
Walk with Laura in her mission barrel "wooly worm" black coat. Hear her utter her first prayer, share intimacy with a purple-winged wasp, thrill with Laura as she feels love for the first time -- love for a stray dog she names Pilot. See the world through Laura's eyes as she is named May Day Queen, as she searches for an elusive movie idol, experiences her first kiss, faces a life threatening experience with a long-lost brother and embraces the reality of her own loveliness in a vintage gown as she speaks at the Academy awards.