by S. L. Rottman
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Sean, nine years after his parents' divorce, has never recovered from their separation, which left him in the care of his alcoholic, abusive mother. His father sends support payments but, according to Sean's first-person narration, takes no other interest in his son. When Sean, after misbehaving at school, is assigned to perform community service at a ranch, he is confronted by the outwardly gruff Dave Hassler, a veteran of WW II and all-around old-timer. Called upon to help deliver a foal, muck out stalls, and spread manure over gardens and fields left fallow for the winter, Sean finds himself enjoying the hard work, sense of accomplishment, and security of Dave's environment.