Maia Wojciechowska writes about boys with parent problems; this one hasn't got the stature of Shadow of a Bull, but it certainly avoids the sentimental sludge of A Kingdom in a Horse (1965). Bryan Wilson is fifteen, the son of a famous movie star, Jody Blake, who would be able to upstage even Bette Davis. In one of the few honest comments she ever makes she says ""you pay for public success with private happiness."" But the one who has paid for all this stardust is Bryan whose step-father, a pretty decent Joe, is now lying in a Loved One mortuary. Jody returns, from location, swathed in black, saying ""Will you help me, Bryan"" which is about her first acknowledgement of his presence. Bryan doesn't really want to; he wants to go away to school in the east; he's miserable, hating himself and the ""crummy world"" and underneath, as he realizes that Jody is losing her touch (she looks dreadful even screened through cheesecloth), he also knows that he is being simultaneously diminished. But at the end he takes off his sunglasses and really gives up the idea of having a mother--now he can be himself.... The strength of the book is in the fact that it doesn't touch up the basic problem of any youngster's accommodation to adults who are what they are and who will stay that way, and it reads with the greatest of ease. This one will probably arouse argument (where's Mom?) but then you usually land on a safety when you play parchesi in Hollywood.