As the title might imply, this is the kind of book -- based on random, tentative materials -- which might almost not carry the weight of any adjective you choose to apply however affectionate. It is also the kind of book which in the colder, commercial light of day could well be overlooked. Her own sneakered footprints are everywhere in this continuity of a childhood, and after, in which Erica figures, first as the youngster wanting to ""learn how to make a miracle"" even if the Sears Roebuck Deluxe magician set won't advance her powers at all. And while on the one hand Erica is very firmly fixed in an economically crimped small house in the middle west in the middle of World War II, she also exists in her own world somewhere between knock-on-wood superstitions and more visible signs of faith, say the holier-than-thou- ""hucklebone of a saint."" In time Erica grows up to become ""Theo's Girl"" (this appeared in an O.Henry collection) -- the irregular, improvident Thee who wants to be a sculptor (a very funny scene where he breaks into a funeral parlor to make a death mask of someone who is laid out there) and becomes instead a dog-walker in New York where she joins him -- going home once more at the end with their baby for one of those last times, next to last times? The stuff of dreams and life which all seems palpably true. And very appealing.