Donovan was a happy child. We see in his father and grandfather an inkling of the good person he could be. And yet, through circumstance, he grows to be a misanthrope and an atheist. But he is a most compassionate misanthrope and atheist. He wants to believe in God, but his scientific mind, along with some miserable experiences with supposedly good Christians, create tremendous stumbling blocks. However, because he is curious, over time he comes to know a few strong, intelligent, and warm-hearted people who show him other ways of looking at life. It is along this path that we, the readers, follow him.