Two books by Tom Earley
I read a rave review about Tom Earley’s book called Blue Star that is the sequel of his first book, Jim, The Boy. I was so intrigued that I went out and bought them both and am still thinking about them a few weeks later.
The story takes place, both of them, in North Carolina prior to WWII where Jim lives with his mother and 3 adoring uncles. Life is much simpler then. It is a coming of age story about Jim. Dynamics of life and the community and hard farm work during the Depression. The writing is simple like the story but it is complex and thoughtful. In the second book, Jim is a teenager. He has a car, the war is breaking out and Jim is enamored with a young girl who lives on the other side of the tracks. It is a complicated romance that plays itself out through the book.
I think what I loved about these books is not only the stories and characters but how rare it is to read a book these days that as simple and elegant in prose as the story. The town grows and new community members come in, as technology starts to enter the town ( the train ) and social stratus start to become more enhanced. The calmness of the characters and their moral values touches the reader. Perhaps the books made me think of how life in America has changed so dramatically from the days of the Depression. More people, more technology, more layers, just much more frenetic.
The books are wonderful. True gems. I gave the first one to Josh to read. It is not a kids book but perhaps a books for any age. Really just loved them both. If you read the first, you must read the second. The story is just not complete with out reading them together.