The familiar not for everyone limits but should not eliminate this affecting portrait of a communion between generations, and the comprehension of loss and legacies. Ramie, a thirteen-year-old from rural North Carolina, orphaned inauspiciously, lingeringly and adoringly witnesses the strengths and malignancies of the world of Miss Liz, her grandmother, widowed and still doggedly living on her farmstead. In the life of Miss Liz, the mystery of the seasons, of tender creatures that demand care, was multiplied by the mysteries of human events...a grandson dies of a spider bite; a flighty daughter drowns; a shining vagrant in Miss Liz, young life turns out to be dumb and ugly and is called ""Dummy."" As Ramie reacts to the apparent inconsistencies--the hate of Dummy, of Ramie's alien father, the love for an orphan bird and for Ramie herself--she begins to sense that a small mind can be an anchor. Miss Liz had foreseen the killing frost--worse than a holocaust--and when her consciousness comes adrift, Ramie mourns for all the victims--her daddy, mother, Dummy and Miss Liz. Spirited and somber and true to the sensibilities of a young girl.