Leonard Kriegel was eleven when at a Jewish boys' camp he was stricken with polio --that killed his bunkmate pal Jerry -- and he started on a long and tortuous journey of partial recovery and self-discovery. His father ordered him to be brave because that was the way to get better--and he was. He was also full of the anger of enforced dependence and, soon, the anguish of adolescence. At ""the Rock"", the New York state Reconstruction Home in West Haverstraw, he lived an intense ward life with other boys: their battles, their escapades (a memorable descent on Garnersville), their dreams and fears are relived in terse prose. Despite useless legs (Lennie was paralyzed from the lower stomach down), Lennie gained on freedom--through a wheelchair, learning to walk, the return (feared) home, then to school and college, where he met a girl who efied her parents to marry him. His anger enabled him to streamline himself into a functioning person, and when he met former acquaintances from the hospital who had chosen another route to self-aceptance --in banding together as cripples -- he knew far he'd come. Intensely told, masculine in appeal.