Maria, a young girl and the protagonist in this novel, is forced, by her fascinating desire to lead a different life, towards leading the life of a prostitute. The book is filled with revelation of large number of true but bitter facts through Maria’s diary. At the beginning only, Paulo has warned us about the book being a filled with bitter truths and indeed it has. And the worst or best, I can’t say, fact is that these are all about our age old relationships between the two sexes – something that we like to hide more than reveal.
The book starts with an interesting short story narration where the question – Who should be given more of forgiveness – is thrown. Paulo has chosen Maria’s diary as the medium to make us understand about the world, firstly from a young charming girl’s, then from an intelligent prostitute’s and then again from a young and understanding lady’s point of view.
The story actually begins as it has been told to us why Maria chose to believe that love was not for her when twice she is unable to get the boy she liked. When grown, she chooses to guide her life differently as she found herself different from other girls of her school.
By fate chosen by herself, Maria falls into the profession firstly of dancer and then of a prostitute. In the profession she earns lots of money but fails to earn one true love.
Ralph is a famous and rich painter who has traveled the road Maria is yet to travel and gets to meet her in a café. They meet time and again for they both liked to be with each other and Ralph makes her understand pleasure, sufferings and pain and love. The novel has a happy ending with Maria and Ralph getting together once again.