A successful May-December couple adopt three tiny siblings from a Russian orphanage and embark upon an odyssey of hope, misstep and disaster American style, culminating in a broken marriage, a sick and destitute father, and the one gift he has left to bequeath to his beloved children. Held together with sly humor, insight and brutal honesty, the Old Man's letters to his kids are not mere stories, but works of art. A book to be read over and over again, and passed on to your OWN kids. Don't miss it. [T]he author's failing health leads him to tell his much-loved children about their adoption from Russia, about his world, his own childhood in St Paul, Minnesota and his unlikely but passionate attachment to all things Russian (to the point of earning a PhD in Russian literature). ....[A] fascinating story of a mid-century youth [that] makes a Midwestern boyhood seem as tough and alien as anything behind the Iron Curtain.