This first novel is really no bigger than the handful which Allegra Maud Goldman precociously is--a gadfly gamine who early realizes ""There's a whole plot in that name."" Actually she's not likely to overlook or forget anything. These backward-looking years take her from three to thirteen when she was making up her mind just who she was, or might be--a gentleman farmer? A Supreme Court justice? This then is childhood's small change when a nickel still bought an ice cream cone. It's all about her parents, particularly her ""ill-natured"" but really sad father, and her brother David who preferred the piano to punchball, and school and camp, and sex and the important day her ""eggs started to break"" when her mother was in the middle of a bridge hand. . . . One of those bright, eye-catching things that come in small packages--Allegra's a charming nudzh. Notice her.