Memorabilia from a bar mitzvah year in late 1930s Baltimore--when black rioters break into Daddy's store after a Joe Louis fight, seedy steel workers hang around flaky Uncle Bimbo's soda shop, and Mickey agonizes over his supposed sins of lust. He is kicked out of Hebrew school for reading Fanny Hill, and befriended by Father Moses, a black fire-and-brimstone preacher who's the only person Mickey can talk to about his beautiful blue soul and Iris solitary nighttime sins. In other short, impressionistic episodes, Mickey and Uncle Bimbo take an idle trolley for a spin and end up in a collision; his mother writes to President Roosevelt about the plight of Polish Jews (""My best to you, Eleanor, Fala, and the children"")--and gets an answer; his father dies suddenly at a wedding reception; and, toward the end, he has one big dream about the Fiery Furnace and another about becoming President. Both of these are stagy and not the surging wrap-up they are meant to be. The rest has a lot of color and nostalgia and a fair share of humor, but needs the push and pick-up Herman tried for in the dreams.