It is the summer of 1967 and Leo Suther is about to turn eighteen. This is the summer that everyone has something to teach Leo. His father warns him that "life can turn on a dime." Allie, his girlfriend, wants to teach him about love. Her father, the local communist and civil rights organizer, lectures him on politics and carpentry. And Ryder, a family friend, wants to show Leo the magic of the harmonica--harp of the blues.
However, when Leo's life threatens to come unglued, it is his mother's wisdom he turns to. Though she died before Leo was five, her voice lives on in her diaries and poems, testifying to the strength of her love for her husband and son--a love that can still, years later, offer consolation.