Joey Spencer’s world, Depression plagued, rural, eastern North Carolina, is a world of limited possibilities, narrow horizons, and strong personalities. It is an era when the mere idea of indoor plumbing or TV is science fiction, but the arrival of the bookmobile or Swindell’s grocery truck is a much-anticipated treat.
Against this background of unique time and place Joey’s story unfolds. Some of his experiences are universal – the death of a beloved pet, first fumbling attempts at seduction, a son’s struggle to please his father – but all are freshly seen through Joey’s eyes and vivid imagination.
Neighbors and family influence young Joey. Miss Sylvia fills her days with radio serials and the Sears and Roebuck catalog, dreaming of a better life. Valerie has dreams, too -- dreams of killing her abusive father. Malcolm Tetterton hates children, but wants to adopt one to please his wife. And within Joey’s family, Arthur Lee walks the brink of madness, Uncle Harold has a shameful secret, and Molly, Joey’s mother, has secrets of her own.
Joey shares with the reader the joys and sorrows of his loss of innocence and coming of age during Hardscrabble Days.