A modest and moving first novel, this deals with the relationships between a feeble-minded man of 40 and the society in which he lives,- his mother and brother, and, when he is thrown on the world alone, his mother's friends, and the people of the tiny town of Marigold, Mississippi. Particularly beautifully done is the feeling between Jake and his mother; especially horrifying is the episode in which four unconcerned fellow townsmen, driven by their wives and shown the way by authority, have him committed legally insane on faked papers. As Jake, after his mother's death, begins his inevitable, but at first slow, decline, he unknowingly affects the lives of various neighbors, testing them where they are strongest and weakest, and, in effect, passing judgment on them. This is a good first novel in general, although there are a number of rough edges showing here and there. Unfortunately, its subject matter will probably keep it from the good sized audience it deserves.