This is one of those books that one wonders why it was projected as fiction at all. It is so patently autobiographical, -- an adult delving deep into his own childhood (or one intimately known and observed), turning back the leaves and recalling, in minute detail, the psychological and emotional reactions to things and people, places and incidents. The time is a generation ago, the place, Mobile, Alabama. The boy's mother is a widow, gently bred, but left with no funds for raising her seven boys. And the lad of the story is the seventh. The story of a bad boy, 20th century version -- family, servants, teachers, friends, enemies, games, sex, growing consciousness of race, class, and dawning appreciation and turning to the arts. Now introspective -- now lyrical.