The three Geminni brothers were of superior intellect, yet the trio followed downward spirals until only Gene, the oldest at age thirty with a wife and two daughters, was able to pull back on the wheel and end the nose dive for himself. His siblings never do find their way, and they end up broken and emotionally destroyed.
This novel traces the life of Gene Geminni, born on the eve of the Great Depression in New York City, until 1985, through a broken home, academic failure, flirtations with crime and eventual success as a professor and clinical psychologist. It examines the reasons why one man can struggle against opposing environmental forces and eventually overcome them, while others in the same family cannot. It raises questions about faith in God and morality that few ever examine.
A novel of growing up and coming of age, this book is about having no religion and God being an illogical construct. The central intellectual conflict is between the theist and nontheist. At times, it is unstated; at other times it is in your face. But in the end, Gene Geminni, the protagonist, continues to believe that there is a wide gap between the claims of religion and its actual practices–that many people who were the most enthusiastic defenders of these beliefs were also among the most unethical people he had ever encountered–and that morality does not depend upon belief in God.