Mann's My Father Lives in a Downtown Hotel (1973) dealt with a boy's feelings about his parents' divorce; this is the slightly fuller account of another boy's reactions to his mother's death. Mann establishes Robbie's dependency right off, with a bike accident and subsequent hospital stay when only his mother's presence could make things okay. Then, distressingly, she is in the hospital for weeks, and when she dies he's left with his father, who has always been a ""cold-fishy"" stranger. After a long and painful time Robbie takes the initiative and establishes a closer relationship with his father; meanwhile there are lonely tears, awkward encounters at school, stiff conversations with his Dad. . . Robbie conveys their vibrations, frequently ending an observation with ""you know what I mean?"" Of course you do, not because he has touched on some heretofore unarticulated awareness but simply because it's so obvious--Robbie is a bereaved Everykid to the point of banality. Nevertheless, compared to other such sympathetic recreations, this is believable and moving.