This is the story of the Bernard Family, a kind of jaunty, Swiss Five Little Peppers, as told by the youngest member, Frederique. To her, life is meant to be ""practically flamboyant,"" and if it is not, she makes it so in the telling. Beginning with her earliest memories, and ending with her imminent nest-leaving, we are witness to a parade of characters from the feisty Grandmere who died on purpose to spite her husband, to bumptious sibling bedfellow, Tina-be-good. The two central figures are the Mother and Father. Mother with her flannel houseslippers and her indomitability, and Father with his inventions and his will-o'-the wisp pursuits, especially blonde ones. In spite of unhappy turns of fortune and sundry follies, the family seemed to have possessed that elusive talent for living. Mrs. Fredge adds a dash of her own humor and acuity.