A holding tale of the uprooting of a little girl's security as the world she knows breaks up before her nine year old eyes. Granddaughter of a Crittenden, Marey knows only pride of name, but wakes to what tragic results have come of her grandfather's domination, the family poverty, and her aunt's desperate, spiteful recourse to drugs. Aunt Cynthia's devotion to little Karcy, her insistence on opening all literature, poetry and passion to the girl, make it all the harder for this active within, passive without, child to bear her aunt's isolation when she refuses to give up her drugs. Marcy's emotional adultness underlines the shame of her associations with her classmates, her practical maternal Grandmother Peake, and the degradation of begging from her uncle. Cynthia's last, wild gesture to save her dog when their house burns down forces Marey to live with Grandmother Penke and there she finds joy in becoming conventionally accomplished -- but again security is dissolved when she learns Grandmother Peake can never love her wholly. Marey writes her first poem -- and realizes Cynthia's heritage of freedom and glory. Of more substance than Wait For Mrs. Willard, 1944, this is a perceptive projection of southern disintegration, family decadence, and personal victory.