From childhood, Elena and Lina are friends. Throughout the 1950s, they know nothing of Naples—the city they live in beyond the impoverished suburb they inhabit. Elena struggles to be first in class, but realizes she will always be second to Lina. When they reach adolescence, their lives take different directions, but will either of them be able to escape into a different life from the reality of their deprived mothers?
This is a compelling step into the Italian mentality of the times, from the limited lives of women to the overbearing macho mentality of the men who frequently react with violence.