Set in the Midwest, where Florida represents a faraway paradise, this novel tells the story of Alice Fivey. Fatherless since she was seven, Alice is left in the care of her relatives at the age of ten, when her mother, whose "toenails winked in the foil bed we knew for Florida," is institutionalized. Alice is moved from place to place, remaining still while others try to mold her into someone different from her mother. She consoles herself with books and becomes a storyteller herself as she moves into adulthood, ever further from the desolation of her mother's actions and closer to the meaning of her own experience.
Told in brief scenes of spare beauty, Florida is a graceful and gripping tale of family, forgiveness, and creation of the self.