Tale of an indomitable Jewish matriarch in Brooklyn's Brownsville slums during the '20's and the early years of the depression. Her husband, Leo, a part-time vestmaker, proves unable to provide for the family of four, so Ruth becomes a door-to-door button drummer, and makes enough to move her brood into half a hole in the wall shop in the district's main street. Her eldest daughter Clara is smitten with the mewling Charlie who comes to work in the shrewdly run, expanding business. The younger daughter, Sarah, marries a rolling stone, who works sporadically in various garages, finances his wife through law school, watches her win a legislative seat in Albany. The two sons are weaklings, but it is Mama and her ""will of iron"" that keeps them going, albeit at some loss to herself as she grows somewhat hard and loses close contact with her family. With her death only Sarah, most like her, looks forward to a substantial future. An all-too-familiar scene recaptured with genuine dialect and situation, some good writing for a quiet but interesting family saga.