A crucial summer in a farm boy's growing up is told simply, dramatically, and with an autobiographical reality, in this fine unpretentious novel. Joe Doyle lives on a farm, near a placid small town, with his parents and grandfather. His parents take in Sammy, a young city tough, who, without being precisely evil himself, is a catalyst which reveals to Joe the undercurrents of sex, crime, and human problems in his rural life. Finally the whole town, exploding over an accidental death and a fierce summer, also loses its innocence, and Joe is irrevocably changed. Relaxed, humorous, but with vividly complex characters and scenes, this novel unobtrusively creates a genuine sense of being, and becoming, alive.