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With the natural empathy of a saint, and the humility and openness of a fellow-traveler, Donna Johnson introduces us to life on the rough side. We view these lives in three-dimension, and what the world of convention and television ads might see a bunch of losers, through her eyes we see what they really are - deep and courageous charcters. They are, in some respects, freed by their hard luck and losses. They are able to see what is important to see - changes in the weather, loving gestures, gratitude for daily bread. If they are fortified by alcohol and tobacco, so be it. the writer herself admits to the same crutches. She describes herself as "friendly to a sickening degree." Not so. She reveals herself a smart, perceptive, loving human being with an uncanny and lovely writing style.