We do know that Naomi is a survivor. Her life is a catalogue of miseries: Her next door neighbor abuses and possibly rapes her; her mother disappears without explanation; her family is forced to move, and move again; her father dies; she must work her fingers to the bone on a beet farm and live in a chicken coop; her older brother moves away and all but renounces the family; and she endures the casual racism of her students and neighbors. Despite this litany of disasters, Naomi is uncomplaining. She shows flashes of bitterness here and there and feels passionate anger about the most horrifying of the many injustices heaped on her family. However, she endures the outrages in silent stoicism while they happen, looking back on them with careful interest once they are in the past. Refusing to play the role of victim, she is amazingly wry, observant, and lyrical.