Episodic and diffused, this is several stories in one slow-paced conglomerate. There is Ollie and his father, an unambitious widower whom the boy knows is lying and stealing; Ollie and Edith, the woman downstairs, who cares for him when Mr. Wellingham is injured during the storm; and briefly, there is Ollie and Granny; Edith's senile mother, who longs for Missouri on the other side of the river--which is where they find her body after the storm. How Ollie perks up with Edith and Dad shapes up in the hospital--physically and spiritually--is a familiar unfolding, and the apparent future with Edith and Mr. Wellingham together is just too tidy. Yet there are individual scenes that are better than the effort as a whole--a trip on the train, the visit in the hospital. Aspiring but not accomplished.