Debbie's family faces its most shattering experience. Can it hold together after the loss of the beloved person around whom it revolved? Its chief bond has always been strong affection. Will family ties hold against the pull of individual wants in time of crisis?
Debbie's older sister and brother have already broken away to start their own families, continuing the cycle of life that a family stands for. Debbie's youngest brother, Jimmie, has simple wants still, if love and protections are ever simple to achieve. Fifteen-year-old Polly is attracted to martyrdom, and also to Gus, who helps with the garden. Father is silently alone.
And Debbie - Debbie the blond dreamer, Debbie the debonair, impetuous romancer - Debbie at eighteen fails at homemaking. She wants to get a job, go to college, be a writer and, suddenly, she wants the man she loves.
The tangle of conflicting wants seems only to grow worse, but the solution is there, bound up in the real meaning of Debbie's wondering discovery, "There are different kinds of love." (from the dust-jacket)