Givens, a bookseller and radio show host in Virignia, offers a terse if deeply sentimental memoir of his hardscrabble childhood growing up on a farm during the Depression, and of the series of events that conspire to help him, as a young man, finally begin to reach out to his distant father. That effort was largely set in motion by Givens's resolution of a longstanding mystery. For many summers during the Depression a taciturn, rather sorrowful man would show up at his grandfather's farm and provided skilled help in exchange for room and hoard. Sad and distant, he never talked about the source of his sorrow, or about his past. And, after showing up on the family's doorstep one bitterly cold Christmas Eve, he disappeared, seemingly for good. When Givens was 19, and driving a truck for a fuel oil company, he was sent out on Christmas Eve to a distant farm in need of fuel, There, to his astonishment, he found the hired man, and an explanation for his mysterious ways. The discovery moves Givens to seek out his own father, and to effect, as a part of the holiday celebrations, a reconciliation. Straightforward, and offering a convincing portrait of New England fanning life, the narrative is marred only by a rather large dose of sentimentality, a quality that is not likely to displease many readers.