Like Patty in Greene's Summer of My German Soldier and Morning Is a Long Time Coming, Carol Ann Delancy feels emotionally abandoned by her mother. Brought up in a trailer in Bainesville, Arkansas, the daughter of an unemployed beer-guzzling Irishman and a sucker-cheating gypsy mother whose ""gypsy magic"" she can no longer trust, Carol Ann is dressed in rags and taunted at school--until the day she's tapped to substitute for the girl who sings the ""Star Spangled Banner"" at closing assembly. Carol Ann is dressed and coifed for the occasion by top gift Amber Huntington, and her strong singing voice wins her respect and attention--and a ride home via McDonald's with handsome Will Bellows, who's in line for his father's prosperous farm. As it turns out, her social life doesn't change much--Amber gives her more clothes but is shocked at the idea that they might be friends--but music teacher Jean McCaffrey praises her talent, takes her on for free lessons, and encourages her dream of stardom as a singer-composer-guitarist. As graduation approaches Carol Ann is torn: Will, who hasn't approached her since that first ""date,"" arrogantly proposes. Mama is jubilant, seeing the marriage as a chance to raise the whole family's status--and a way to keep Carol Ann in Bainesville, where her musical performance is needed to lure customers to the bizarre ""family business' Mama has dreamed up: charging for viewing a miraculous ""dead baby"" (really a stolen mannequin) that is displayed in a coffin Mama has induced Papa to steal from. the cemetery. But considering both Mama's and Will's behavior on graduation night, it's no wonder that Carol Ann opts for Nashville instead. Greene's characterization of all concerned is simplistic and this has none of the ambient edge of Tamar's Blues for Silk Garcia (p. 251, J-59), another recent story of a singer-composer-guitarist pursuing a career against her mother's wishes. But Greene's previous earnest quests have had their admirers, and both the musical career and the gypsy shenanigans have their allure.