Charley is indeed a darling-- one of the most bewildered, enthusiastic, inquiring, delightful, troublesome children ever invented to point out a sad tale. With a number of other boys, Charley is sent to the country from London slums during the war; he becomes an outcast when his head is shaved because of lice. Guilty of a ""crime"" he does not understand, he attempts to win back the respect of others in ways often marvellously funny. Few writers were better than Mr. Cary at describing the wary stalking, the sudden shifts of complete belief and allegiance among the young. But Charley's demon, his gift for story-telling, eventually leads him into real crime. And at all points where Charley most needs, and senses he needs, a different direction, even the most well-meaning adults around him fail him miserably. The artist who could teach him how to control his remarkable talents declares pompously, to other adults- ""Art cannot be taught""; even the sympathetic but shy young woman to whom he is given fails to understand Charley's mature love for the fourteen year old Liz which might have saved him and adds it to his guilts. Misunderstanding by misunderstanding, earnest, confused, he is led into the crime that finally sends him off to reform school. This is not a moral tract. It is an enormously tender, often hilarious, dialect piece of reality that leaves behind it many sorrowful questions.