Simple, and perhaps partly autobiographical, this novel describes a boyhood in a New Hampshire town. Paul Normandin is of Indian and French Catholic descent. His parents, attempting to better themselves, buy a decaying mansion in a good neighborhood. Their struggles in repairing the house are echoed by Paul's difficulties in adjusting to a gang of tough rich boys who torment him and his friends. He is also troubled by religious questions. At first lonely, he sees angles, and wishes to be a missionary; but his problems, the death of a neighbor, and his glimpses of the violence of life, disillusion him. Only when the house finally burns down, does he realize he has been happy there and he regains a kind of faith. Much of this is fairly sentimental, but the amateurish straightforward good-will is often pleasant, while the scenes have some of the haphazardness of recalled reality.