There's not too much difference between Painting the Roses Red (1975) or Leila's attempt here to just ""laugh and grow roses,"" or between the attractively haphazard derangement of the two books except that this one is more strung out. Take it either way. It's about the summer Devin Donahue, 23, spends in Colorado with Leila whom he's known back home in North Carolina and Leila's mingy husband Mittie who's staging theatricals in a tourist park, and her mother (who's trying to sanitize Leila's messy life) and Leila's current lover Spurgeon who's in trouble from drugs to crabs. The book ends on a sadder note, with a suicide, and on a wiser one as Devin decides to make a little more sense out of his life, by not going back to Harvard. The time is 1968 but it seems ever so much longer ago. Yet in spots, and there are many, Malone is an appealing, skittery and funny writer, and if all his youthful spirits could be bottled, they would easily take care of a brewery of Coors.