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Twenty-four-year-old Jane Marshall is unattractive, poor, struggling to educate herself, and living in a deteriorating city with her hopelessly alcoholic mother. Despite Jane’s circumstances, she has goals that she refuses to give up, even if normalcy and happiness seem ridiculously impossible. Working as a nurse’s aide while putting herself through college, Jane hopes to become independent of her mother’s disastrous lifestyle.
At the nursing home, Jane finds a dear friend in Katherine, who has Alzheimer’s. One evening Katherine, once a beautiful and successful woman, is unusually coherent, and she happily tells Jane that she has seen her deceased husband and will be joining him. On this night Katherine is joyous, peaceful, and lucid. She breathes a power that Jane feels but cannot describe...
Jane arrives home late. Just as she lies down to sleep, her drunken mother bursts in and demands money. Years of repressed rage are unleashed as Jane finally vents her emotions. To punish her, her mother kicks her out. Homeless, penniless, jobless, and utterly hopeless, Jane runs out into the cold pouring rain and gets in her rusted old car. She drives faster and faster down an empty black highway, unable to face her life any longer.
Katherine dies at the exact moment Jane’s car plunges over the guardrail.
Starting over with nothing but her strength of character and a strange, inexplicable gift from Katherine, Jane’s new life begins...