Andrew Ward began life as a very young man and apparently has been getting younger ever since. This youthful backward look spans the misfortunes of early years battling motion sickness in round-the-world travels (""Sic in Transit""), a painful adolescence in a small New England town (""I tried to kill time at dances by fetching punch""), college failures (""I was reduced to hoping it was all penetrating my mind subsconsciously""), and aging grandparents. Most of the journey is exaggerated to produce a faintly hysterical sense of fun; there is an endless supply of ferociously vacuuming mothers, biology teachers who address parts of the body as Mister (""Mister Aorta""), and neighbors who row downstream naked except for a Disney mask. But the real star is Ward himself, by now a familiar figure in American humor: inept as a soda jerk, terrified of girls, hopelessly unathletic, barred from any kind of scientific understanding, and generally tackling life the way he takes on parallel bars, ""swinging from my armpits and making exertive noises."" As Ward gets younger, he might take his turn with Art Buchwald and Erma Bombeck.