For Avery Cullins–library archivist, former teenage runaway, and gay man from a small Southern town–“family” means a live-in boyfriend and a surly turtle. But when his father, a renowned nuclear physicist, commits suicide, Avery’s decade-long estrangement from his mother, now hobbled following a stroke, comes to a skidding halt. With his boyfriend’s help, Avery takes custody of his mother and the trio heads cross country in a rented U-Haul, back to an apartment in Cleveland and an uncertain future. Their journey soon becomes a pilgrimage into the past when Avery begins sifting through his mother’s mementos. What emerges is a story of family, love, and loss as his parents made a home, lost a child, and tested the boundaries of marital love in the 1970s. Meanwhile, in today’s uncertain social landscape, Avery must confront his own struggle with a mother who doesn’t recognize him and a lover who seeks to claim him for his own.