Following the death of his mother, sixteen-year-old Thomas is more ambitious than ever to attend a good college and have a bright future. He dreams of going to Ole Miss, and although he’s a smart kid, a little extra credit never hurts. For class, Thomas has to learn more about his family’s genealogy, so he asks for help from his grandfather and only remaining relative Duncan.
Thomas visits Duncan at his nursing home, and so the relationship begins as Duncan discusses life in decades past and slowly starts revealing some strange, sad family secrets—especially the one involving the yellow cookie jar. Duncan’s mother was manic depressive and suffered several episodes before eventually taking her own life. She was haunted by her yellow cookie jar, and her son has been haunted by this secret ever since.
Thomas is now the keeper of his family’s secrets but also of the mysterious cookie jar heirloom. What began as a school project becomes an eye-opening look into not only his family’s history but into world history, too, seen through the eyes of a wizened old man whose heart was broken but begins to heal with his grandson’s help.