An episodic, seriocomic tale of a modern Danish schoolboy's trials and tribulations in a world no longer kind to performers. Buster is a true performer, an admiring student of his father's magic tricks, and ever willing to show them to less-than-appreciative audiences; but his math teacher, gym teacher, and principal all seem more interested in Buster's formal education. Most of his schoolmates torment him for being different and poor. His father drinks to lessen the pain of his own failure; his discouraged mother depends more and more on Buster to help support the family. Yet Buster's view of life is essentially optimistic--a mixture of naivetâ€š and street wisdom, blessedly free of self-pity. From the opening locker-room scene (when he seems to transform himself into a naked gorilla to regain his clothing from mocking classmates) through episodes showing his new job as a milkboy, sweet revenge on his tormenters, and first love, Buster remains unquenchably hopeful--a Danish Huck Finn, who's not always smart enough to duck, but whose timing with magic tricks is perfect. The tone here is indulgent, often wistful. Buster is more the symbol of childhood's resilience in a harsh world than a blood-and-bone child; but the humor is real, the resilience believable. Buster's life and times stay with the reader.