In this highly readable narrative, Hendra recounts his growing-up years during the 1950s, a time filled with typical outdoor explorations and adventures of a Catholic schoolboy in rural England. What is not so typical is his sexual awakening when seduced at age 14 by a lonely wife, whose husband responds by taking Hendra for a visit of several days to the monastery at Quarr Abbey. Although the book's marketing focuses on Hendra's seduction, this event merely serves as the circumstance surrounding the author's first encounter with the book's central character, Father Joe. This wise and funny man with gnarled hands and feet became for Hendra the "still center, the rock of my soul." In recounting repeated visits to the monastery, Father Joe is lovingly recalled for his warmth and understanding, humor, and enigmatic wisdom. For Hendra, Father Joe is more therapist than priest, evincing the "wisdom I craved—though it was never what I expected; his judgment alone I feared—though never once did he pass judgment on me."