When Kathleen Frazier's mother returns home after many years in a mental hospital, her presence disrupts a happy household's ordinary routines. The surrogate mother (the housekeeper) and Wimpy, the younger brother, accept her easily with an honesty of outlook and emotion that father and daughter -- with the best will in the world -- cannot match. Their attempts to protect her from ordinary contacts and their mixed motives for this bring the woman to the edge of a relapse. Kathy goes through the familiar tortures of feeling much and being able to say little and understanding much without being able to control situations and moods. The book is reminiscent of Jennifer (1959, p. 96 J-60) whose mother was just through with a bout of alcoholism. Again the story is picked up after the cure and the reader suspects that everything is going to come out all right, which is too bad because this writer is deft and could handle a real-problem for this age group -- one without the sharpest edges removed. The subplot is girl and boyfriends and the identification of the attractive weak reeds. Emotional without being sticky and, within the limits mentioned, a very good book.