Relationships between two adults and between parents and their children are common. This story is about a different sort of relationship in which a young librarian and a totally dysfunctional eleven year old boy form a growing bond strengthening through time and association. The child's resistance to anything educational, and the way in which the librarian tries to alter the boy's mindset, form the backbone of the story, but perhaps more significant is the growing affection between man and boy culminating in a private fostering arrangement. Alongside the main theme, the librarian has problems of his own at work and in his love life. At the start of the novel he is trying to get over a split with a long standing girlfriend but eventually starts a relationship with a woman about whom he has doubts about her sexual proclivities. That ends through lack of commitment on both sides leaving him to find happiness with an attractive divorcee with whom he wants to have children adding one more twist to the difficult connection between man and boy.