A somewhat heavy-handed exploration of the age-old problem of how a conscientious boy can learn to stand up to a domineering, overprotective mother. Simon's father is dead; his mother has never learned to separate her own desires from her son's. She oversees his clothes and friends, and is now arranging for the reluctant boy to give a piano concert. Simon screams his anger and frustration into a journal and also to Jorna, an extroverted outsider, but cannot bring himself to discuss his feelings with his mother until she reads the journal and learns for herself that they must talk. At last, Simon tells her to back off--and finds that both survive the conversation relatively unscathed. Jorna and her dad, a Vietnam vet, provide a welcome balance; still, plot and characters are subservient to the too-obvious lesson.