Ozge Samanci's parents were both teachers. Her mother taught sewing at a vocational women's high school and her father taught technical drawing at a vocational men's high school. Her father wanted both Ozge and her older sister Pelin to become engineers so that they could get good jobs and have a better life. Pelin wanted this career but Ozge had other ideas like being an actress, an oceanographer, or an artist. Wanting to please her father, both Pelin and Ozge cram studied in order to get into the best school that would guarantee their admission to the best colleges. Pelin was successful but Ozge could not pass her entrance exams.
While she was growing up Ozge was fascinated by Turkish leader Ataturk and frequently would apologize to his picture when she felt she did not live up to his ideals. She also idealized Jacques Cousteau and had a poster of him up on her bedroom wall. Together they would discuss what Ozge's role in life should be.
Ozge eventually gets into the college Pelin was attending but could only get in as a math student. After flunking most of her classes she eventually graduates but knows she cannot work as a mathematician. As her Jacques Cousteau poster told her, she had learned how to learn by studying math and was prepared to learn whatever she wanted, including art.
I loved this book. It seems that the ending was abrupt and I believe a sequel is needed to finish the author's story. She is currently a professor at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois where I live. I am curious as to how she got there.