A first novel, a family novel, which has vitality and honesty, a novel of Sandra Echols, in her tears at the death of her father, grim, unloved, and self-appointed disciple of Thoreau. Mrs. Echols, untidy and disorganised, decides to support her six children by running a boarding house in Baltimore, and accumulates more debts than boarders. She leans on the older children, and condemns Sandra for her attempts to make more of herself when she gets a scholarship to a local university. Sandra is forced out by her mother, shows considerable physical stamina in doing without in order to continue her schooling, and emotional courage when deprived of Tay, the little brother she loved best, and she goes on to get a job on a newspaper while the family leaves for California. On the paper she meets Jim, falls in love with him, but leaves him and her youth behind when she goes to her family again... A story of people, of practical difficulties and personal conflict, and of a particularly attractive youngster who is undismayed by circumstances... Might have A Tree Grows in Brooklyn appeal.