A Boy's Journey is the poignant, often humorous, memoir of Jackie, a child growing up in the Midwest during the 1930s and early 1940s. The boy's story initially focuses on the joys and sorrows of a motherless working class family striving to cope with the hardships of the Great Depression. However, the chronicle takes a macabre turn when Jackie's alcoholic father loses his job and attempts to commit suicide. Jackie and two of his brothers are taken to the county orphanage. The author's bittersweet account of his life in the orphanage and subsequent experiences as an adopted teenager concludes as the Depression ends and he enters the U. S. Navy during World War II.