The value of this book for young adults lies in its picture of the ""beat generation"", English Midlands styled. Yet this is not the main focus of a novel, built around Ellen, who failed in both her marriages. The first was with an artist-and her failure promises to repeat itself with his daughter, who only too readily takes on the attitudes of the students in the college where her step-father, Ellen's second husband, teaches. Ellen herself is less convincing than some of the minor characters, with her studied role of detachment from the life offered her by each husband. Not for all readers- but it has its merits.