Big and ungainly"" Dennis Trimble, a senior at Cedar City High School, is the least favored of his parents' three children. He does everything bumblingly, except for writing poems. This knack is discovered by beautiful young Ms. A. Carr, substitute English teacher--of whose predecessor Dennis writes, ""Going out to eat/ She choked to death/ Upon a piece of meat."" Ms. Carr encourages Dennis, and he falls passionately in love with her. He sends her flowers for Valentine's Day, but is too shy to enclose a card. Then he invites her to a performance of Hamlet, and she accepts. ""Why don't you buy her a ring?"" asks his girlfriend Shirley, feeling slighted. Dennis does. But Ms. Cart (he still doesn't know what the A stands for) refuses it; she has, it seems, another boyfriend. Heartbroken, Dennis has a car accident--which restores his good common sense to him, along with Shirley's and his parents' affections. . . for no visible reason other than to give the book an upbeat end. It's sketchily told in a supercilious tone that seems to be poking fun at pathetic Dennis--and has no ascertainable purpose altogether.