This is an account of Denis O' Connor's early life up to the time he left home at the age of eighteen. Denis has some happy memories of his mother, but from a very early age he learned to fear his father. During his childhood Denis was regularly punished at home and life at school wasn't much better. Fortunately, love and security was provided by a few caring relatives and other kind people. When life became unbearable, Denis either took refuge with them or went off to the woods and riverbanks and found peace in the natural world and animals around him. At one stage he had his own adorable dog, but his cruel father got rid of it. The extreme distress this would cause would have been so much worse for a child trying to make sense of it. In fact he very nearly didn't get through this terrible part in his life. There is some sadness in this book, but it's uplifting to read about the good things in his life that helped him through it. Denis found the mental strength to make sort sort of sense of his father's hatred and get a good education, to get away. Having already read Paw Tracks in the Moonlight, I know that his love of nature has stayed with him and the love for a wonderful pet has made Denis's adult life more content.