This novel depicts a Jewish family living on St. Mark's Place before the Lower East Side became the East Village. Papa Kossoff is a character defeated by his status as clerk in his younger brother's grocery store; he is adored by his daughter Ruth and loathed by his son Martin--for excellent reasons. The focus of the activity is young Ruth, an earnest, humorless girl, who finds a way out of St. Mark's Place and Hunter College by taking a job as mother's helper with a rich family. Ruth and her law-student neighbor have been a twosome for years, but they have a little misunderstanding; when the smoke clears, she is married to her kindly employer, who has thoughtfully divorced his wife. Now Ruth has wealth, two step-children, two of her own, and one on the way by a third party. But she isn't happy.
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