A Chinese/Philippine girl grows up poor in a dysfunctional family. The family settled in Tropicana Village a vast low income subdivision on the East side of Santa Clara Valley, California, before it became Silicon Valley. Unlike other neighbor kids, she attends parochial school and wants to be a nun. During puberty, however, imagining a movie scene while taking a soapy shower, she commits an impure act of self stimulation, a mortal sin. She discovers sex, not as talked about but as felt. Ashamed to confess her transgression to the priest she sins again and again concealing a wanton secret puppet shadow, a hidden life unknown to all but her.
In January, 1966 her future husband, stops her on the sidewalk as she walks home from her bus stop after school. She is 16. He just moved next door, is white and is five years older. On her 17th birthday she is engaged to him and at 18, they marry. Once engaged he takes responsibility for her life including saving her virginity until marriage.
She in return obtains security and escape from her dysfunctional family and vows to be the loyal wife and super mom. Always shy and with low self esteem, she eventually realizes while married she is the swan her father said, not the ugly duckling she thought. From a husband's swinging suggestion her secret puppet shadow returns to develop a wanton life of infidelity despite appearing to be the good wife. Like a spy she betrays all who trust her for her secret shadow life.
The serial tale reveals her secret puppet shadow's life of wanton sex with many men as seen from her perspective of hindsight in old age. As she writes she learns who she really was, loved and who loved her, accepting she is not the innocent pretended and what she thought was, was not.