How three Swedish American teenagers raised on a Minnesota farm in the early 20th century finally detach themselves from the forceful domination of an authoritarian father and manage to assert their independence is the theme of a sound narrative on the problems of growing up. Papa Emberg knew exactly what he wanted for all his children. Daniel and Susan were to be trained in professions and Paul was to work on the farm. When the desires of his offspring conflict with these specific aspirations, Papa is relentless in his struggle to maintain absolute power. Daniel, the eldest, is the first to rebel -- he gave up school to marry Eunice and work on the land. Paul is next -- he runs away to continue his education. Susan is different -- she tries to fulfill Papa's dreams, but just in time discovers that Papa's imposed values are blocking the way to any real happiness for her. As Susan wins back Charlie and the Enberg kingdom splits apart, it is the old man's recognition of his children's maturity that saves the story from an unfortunate if justified ending, and paves the way for new family relationships. The point of view should appeal to many teenagers undergoing similar problems.