This coming-of-age story deals with Nicholas Battaglia, a young Italian college student, and his obsession with his married, Jewish English instructor. Both are self-destructive, and their affair has near-tragic consequences. Set in the early 1970s, this novel is reminiscent of Scott Spencer's Endless Love as it chronicles a boy's single-minded pursuit of his love object, but this goes further in also dealing with relationships and duty within a working-class Italian family. The author's strength lies in his ability to put the reader inside Nicholas's head and in the three-dimensional quality of his characters. Giardina reminds us what it was like to be young: so self-absorbed and rebellious. Not a happy book, but a rewarding one. Rosellen Brewer, Monterey Cty. Lib., Seaside, Cal.