Markson is particularly effective with children's dialogue, interruptions, humor and all. She captures Dove's defensive sarcasm, Robin's cautious sense of responsibility, Mother's reliance on maxims about how to behave. She also maasterfully recreates the Bruce Springsteen working-class world of '70s New Jerrsey, but the snapshots from just two decades past nicely yellow with added age. Some of the details here are so telling that one senses autobiographical impetus. If so, all the more power to an author who is able to universalize a theme of a child's need to belong, even to a dysfunctional family, and the ways in which new love may compensate for old but never forgotten loss.