Seven years ago, readers everywhere fell in love with Jim Glass, the precocious ten-year-old at the heart of Tony Earley's bestseller Jim the Boy. Now a teenager, Jim returns in another tender and wise story of young love on the eve of World War Two.
Jim Glass has fallen in love, as only a teenage boy can fall in love, with his classmate Chrissie Steppe. Unfortunately, Chrissie is Bucky Bucklaw's girlfriend, and Bucky has joined the Navy on the eve of war. Jim vows to win Chrissie's heart in his absence, but the war makes high school less than a safe haven, and gives a young man's emotions a grown man's gravity. With the uncanny insight into the well-intentioned heart that made Jim the Boy a favorite novel for thousands of readers, Tony Earley has fashioned another nuanced and unforgettable portrait of America in another time--making it again even realer than our own day.
This is a timeless and moving story of discovery, loss and growing up, proving why Tony Earley's writing "radiates with a largeness of heart" (Esquire).
Tony Earley's first novel was Jim the Boy
and The Blue Star
is its sequel. Time has moved forward to the eve of World War II, but everything else is much the same in the countryside of North Carolina. Jim Glass is now a senior in high school, living in the peaceful haven of his three uncles and his mother.
Love complicates his otherwise halcyon life, in the person of one Chrissie Steppe. We can't help whom we love, and Jim has made a big mistake by falling for Chrissie. She and her mother are in what amounts to indentured servitude up on the mountain, living on the property of the influential Bucklaws. Their son, Bucky, is in the Navy and expects that Chrissie will wait for him. She has nothing to say about it because she and her mother have nowhere to go if they are turned off Bucklaw's land because Chrissie has other ideas.
Earley's books are charming and evocative, calling back another time in this country when life was simpler, except in the realm of human emotions, which do not change with the times. He has a way of creating a time and place exactly as the people experiencing it would have felt, putting the reader in the picture. Finishing this book, the reader wonders what World War II and its aftermath will hold for Jim the boy, who is now a man. Perhaps Earley will tell us. --Valerie Ryan