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Learning Joy from Dogs without Collars is a memoir about growing up homeless. Lauralee Summer and her eccentric, idealistic mother move repeatedly in search of work and a better life, but most often find happiness and security only in their relationship with each other.
When she reaches junior high Lauralee and her mother set out for Boston in search of a better education. There Lauralee thrives under the care and guidance of Mr. Mac, becomes the only girl on the school wrestling team, and goes on to Harvard. Later, when she's nineteen, she finds her father and begins a relationship with him.
Learning Joy from Dogs without Collars is the story of a girl coming into her own, learning and understanding her place in the world. It is about the innocence and resiliency of childhood -- the space of joy that poverty is unable to demolish or diminish.