Doesn't much hold together as an actual novel - some passages feel patched together, while major events are brushed over in a few sentences. Sandy is somewhat of a weak protagonist; much of his growth is explained in paragraphs of prose, rather than through his own actions or agency, and he's rarely more than a passive observer for much of the first two-thirds of the story, when he begins to ask more questions. Nevertheless, there's something aching and lovely about the book, and the characters who are brought to life more vividly (Hager, Jimboy, and especially Harriet) are quite moving. Hughes asks difficult questions through the very different women in Sandy's life, and, as a reader, I had no more of a ready answer than Sandy does. Some scenes are wonderful, and the subtle portrayal of everyday life for the family in a small Kansas town is poignantly drawn.