Two books by Tom Earley

514hczkmchl_sl500_aa240_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.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Peter

    I haven’t read this book (though I’ve been meaning to for months) but from the sound of it you’d love Ferrol Sams’ _Run With the Horsemen_. It’s the first of a trilogy that you won’t put down (ok, the 3rd book isn’t as good as the first 2 — it’s excellent, but because of it’s setting… different.)

    Trust me. Check it out:

    Similarly, _Little Heathens_. It was a NYTimes Noteable Book of the Year last year. Fabulous.

  2. ellen

    I am an avid reader when time permits also. I love your recommendations. I wonder if it would be alright to recommend a non fiction book? Presently, I am reading “Who Killed Health Care” by Regina Herzlinger. She makes many valid points about how we got into our problems and what we need to to right so many wrongs that developed after 1980. I can remember how much better things were bebore the advent of managed care.

  3. joanne wilson

    I am not a big reader of the non-fiction books. The last non-fiction I read was The Mascot by Mark Kurzem which I loved which is about a man who finally reveals his life during WWII to his children. I recommend it all the time. Years ago I also read a book called The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down about the collision of the Hmong culture in CA vs. the local doctor community. Very interesting.

  4. Sunflowersisters

    I have read both books and actually grew up in the town the story was based in. I loved the first book but not so much the second one but cannot really put my mind as to why one and not the other. Both books were very representative of the age and era and the life and characters portrayed were both encouraging and believable.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I really enjoyed those books, particularly the first one. Stayed with me a very long time.