Growing up is at best a chancy business -- how many of us, after all, really make it -- even with (as it used to be called) ""advantages."" In this reminiscence with entries from an old diary, Prescott, out of Choate (A Worm of Our Own, KR, 1970, p. 854) is a freshman at Harvard and into the world of coming-out parties (debs in virginal white and over the elbows gloves), boozy football weekends, sexual confusion and intellectual anxieties. Considered something of a grind by his roommates, Prescott for his part couldn't help admiring their ""worldliness"" and their the-hell-with-it sloppiness (""carelessness is not easily affected. . . diffidence must be learned young""). A very fifties memoir, a time when ""does she or doesn't she"" had nothing to do with a girl's hair color, and Prescott agonized over whether to go all the way or save himself for marriage, desperate for a consensus of what co-eds preferred. Memory, of course, can be selective and Prescott's is intelligent, amusing and full of insight. And despite his adolescent uncertainties, he seems to have gotten the best out of what Harvard had to offer. He made the honors program in English, if not in the more prestigious history department, as well as the staff of the literary Advocate (there are marvelous vignettes of T. S. Eliot and Dame Edith and Sir Osbert Sitwell who came to call). It was a good year, 1953, mellowed and uncorked now, and like a full-bodied wine, Prescott offers it at its absolute peak.