The best thing to be said for this septet of short stories is that it is versatile: the range is from the grim realism of a boy shooting his father for abusing his younger brother. . . to happy family frenzy with a mother leaving directions to take the tollhouses out of the oven ""just before you smell them burning"". . . to the anachronistic title story, complete with ethnic accent, which compares a small American town to a Nazi concentration camp. Elsewhere one unmarried girl has a baby and another watches her mother crack up, a dying boy is consoled by Whitman's ""When Lilacs Last. . . ."" and--the least finished piece--a kleptomaniac is uncovered in a girls' dormitory. But in the end the variety is a sign of the weakness: Ruby seems to be trying out one mode and then another, but making none of them her own; many of the exercises end artificially, and few if any have enough conviction to be moving.