Unlike the run of competently written but tepid young novels about black characters or white, this is stiffly worded with speechy dialogue, but the feelings are intense and the situations charged. The story begins with the gleeful murder, in 1940s Georgia, of a little black boy by some white golfers. The child's companion Richard, who witnesses the event, is silenced by his light-skinned grandfather/guardian, who hangs around with whites, and Richard's subsequent ostracism by the resentful black community leads him to hate his easily despised grandfather and his own light skin. But the troubled boy does a complete turnabout when he discovers that his own father is white, and he begins fabricating letters from the white man, whom he insists will come for him when the war is over. Screen's plot seems less crafted than given, for better or worse; but through all the upheavals--a change in schools, his grandfather's death, and then, in battle, his father's--one does feel the anguish of this vulnerable but determined little boy, faced with circumstances that are almost too much for him.