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Fifteen-year-old Ben does not fit in. He is taunted with the epithet "Ballerina Boy" because of the ballet lessons he used to take. Tired of the ridicule, he stops taking lessons, but the teasing continues. After he tries and fails to make the co-ed volleyball team, the taunting escalates into bullying and he ends up in the hospital after a beating. He feels that he cannot discuss the situation with his mother; she seems to have stopped living and merely exists since the death of his father 10 years ago. But Ben discovers that he can talk to his great-aunt Frieda, who has come to spend a few weeks with his dysfunctional family. Great-Aunt Frieda describes her life in Stalin's Russia and tells of her confrontation with the "men of stone" who imprisoned her husband. As a result of his aunt's interest in his life, her patient guidance and quiet example, Ben comes to a series of realizations about remaining true to your dreams and not losing yourself to anger and revenge.