Beany Malone, 16, is efficiency expert and bandaid applier for the charming family of Malones. Without a mother, Beany, her sisters and brothers, all fairly grown-up, father and nephew, live in a house in a small city. Father is a fighting newspaperman at odds with the town's careless drivers. Beany, who feels ruefully hurt after a series of displaced children have left without so much as a backward look, begins to question the value of ""sticking your neck out"". She admires the beautiful, young-looking mother of one of her classmates who advises staying out of things, looking away from unpleasantness, etc. She lives in a charmingly furnished dream world which hard-working Beany envies, and through a well-integrated family story, Beany looks at her values and eventually realizes that her friend is alone, miserable and unhappy over her mother's selfish, cowardly attitudes. The mother is miserable too as she realizes she has failed her husband and child with her childish irresponsibility. Good solid stuff with real values.