This great coming-of-age novel presents us with Kenny Watson, the middle child of the Watson family, who is presented as a sensitive, intelligent boy trying to make sense of the world around him and survive school and the "attentions" of his older brother, Byron. We are told that Kenny is very intelligent for his age, as in Chapter 2 he has to read out loud in front of his brother's class, even reading upside down to stop him reading too quickly. This leads to him being called Egghead and Pointdexter by his school-fellows who bully him because of his intelligence. Another thing that characterises Kenny is his lazy eye:
Momma says it wasn't important, that I was a real handsome little boy, but ever since I'd been born one of my eyeballs had been kind of lazy. That means instead of looking where I tell it to look, it wanted to rest in the corner of my eye next to my nose.
Byron helps him reduce the effects of this "lazy eye," but this, combined with Kenny's intelligence, means that he is bullied greatly at school and is ostracised by his class-mates until Rufus and his brother arrives.