A sentimental ghetto tale about a lonely middle-aged dressmaker and a thirteen-year-old street boy and how the two independent ""survivors"" find each other and themselves. Miss Lena Ricks, owner and operator of a dress shop in a transitional neighborhood, grudgingly accepts the determined help of B.J. -- running errands, cleaning up -- but this Chico and the Man situation turns sour. As Miss Lena's emotional need for B.J. grows, so does her knowledge of his involvement with a bad crowd and then in the robbery of her store. And then there's B.J.'s drunken, abusive father who turns out to be. . . . In spite of the heavy hand of coincidence, and the Valentine ending (admittedly with a wry twist), the author saves a damp tale from mawkishness with some grainy inner-city insights. A Good Times lift for hard times escape.