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In this collection of 12 short stories, McGarry writes subtly and masterfully of people coping with realistic predicaments in their lives. The tales deal with emotions in a way that is authentic rather than sentimental. In "Poor Richard,'' an acne-plagued teenage girl works for an eccentric pharmacist who fails to keep his business afloat. While the man is kind to her, she feels little allegiance or compassion toward him. "Mr. and Mrs. Bull'' describes an adolescent girl's relationship with her Uncle Jack out on the farm. The end of the story implies a somewhat inappropriate feeling on the part of the uncle toward the girl, but nothing comes of it. "The Calling'' features a beatnik couple who receive a call that the woman's younger brother has died. She reflects on their relationship in a way that is oddly detached. While some of the stories are more compelling than others, the collection as a whole is solid. For general readers.-Kimberly G. Allen, MCI Corporate Information Resources Ctr., Washington, D.C.