In this unforgettable memoir of boyhood in the 1950s, we meet the young Toby Wolff, by turns tough and vulnerable, crafty and bumbling, and ultimately winning. Separated by divorce from his father and brother, Toby and his mother are constantly on the move. Between themselves they develop an almost telepathic trust that sees them through their wanderings from Florida to a small town in Washington State. Fighting for identity and self-respect against the unrelenting hostility of a new stepfather, Toby's growing up is at once poignant and comical. His various schemes--running away to Alaska, forging cheeks, and stealing cars--lead eventually to an act of outrageous self-invention that releases him into a new world of possibility.