Fishing & baseball & endless summer vacations . . . the first stirrings of rock 'n' roll on the radio . . . adults quietly and firmly in charge . . . Westphal unspools memory and detail to depict a town that is both the Mayberry of Andy Griffith and the Gibbsville of John O'Hara --- happily, more of the first than the second. We see: A solid, honest community of German immigrants making the most of their lives in a new world; and the half-mad, drought-broken farmers stripped from the land and sent searching for a new resting place. Both meet and thrive in a modest Arkansas town, a free zone where children can run, play, and have their adventures without danger or over-supervision. Family history, childish enthusiasm and an adult's brooding wisdom weave one through the other in this memoir; prose and free verse alternate easily, making a smooth read that is both sharp and elegiac. You will re-enter your own childhood --- with its oceanic feelings; you'll feel the coming of adolescence, with its surges and dislocations and hot tumult. From Larry D. Thomas, 2008 Texas Poet Laureate: "Rich with personal and historical detail and sparkling with clear and concise diction, the book succeeds in revealing the bygone, small-town life not only of Arkansas but . . . of an earlier and simpler America as well." But beyond the pleasures of fact and memory, the book is a celebration of America and a criticism of tragic flaws inherent from the beginning, flaws we can no longer afford to indulge lest they bring us down altogether. If you love to read and savor the sweet, apt, dead-on word --- if you like to mix intelligence with your nostalgia --- then this book is for you.