An uneven book, this has many of the disconcerting traces of a first novel. Selina, the heroine, contends with her mother,-the family's strength, and loves her father,- a dreamer broken by life and the mother. She reads books, aspires, grows, and is baffled; she has a first love affair and gropes for a place in life. But what immediately distinguishes this book, and what, in a curious way, is accented and illuminated by the very triteness of the plot, is that Selina- and nearly all the people she knows-are Negroes from Barbados living in Brooklyn. Aliens both in color and culture, they struggle for respectability in an exotically flavored small world- and where the author deals with this world, the book comes alive. Selina's parents, and their friends, have a dignity, a ferocity and a truth, that Selina- in escaping- tends to lose. But for all the lapses in its genuine power, there are many scenes with vivid, bittersweet implications in this oddly interesting and poetic book.