The ability to identify herself with her central character, which made Mama's Bank Account so heart-warming an experience to readers, is again evident in this story of adolescence. Allie comes to life in its pages, with all the yearnings, the dream world, the joys, the sorrows of growing up -- particularly growing up under such confused and difficult circumstances. For Allie's mother and father were ""separated"" -- Allie's mother ran a boarding house and had very little time to see that her small daughter had the attention to details that small girls demand -- and Allie's father was still looking for the rainbow 'round the corner, and could give Allie only rare glimpses of that vision. But in spite of this, Allie is a very real person in her own right. She wants desperately to feel ""belonging"" somewhere- to be ""somebody""; she gets a thrill out of putting something over on grownups, whether street car conductors or meticulous housekeepers like her aunt across the Bay, or the sadistic lodger who was the star boarder. There's lots going on around her that she doesn't understand, and Kathryn Forbes has handled this beautifully, so that the reader is always seeing things as Allie sees them, and not through adult eyes. Drue alone of the family friends, understands- and does what she can to help. There is implicit tragedy here, flashes of humor, emotional undercurrents; there's less tug at the heartstrings than in Mama's Bank Account- but still that human touch.