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The Blue Star Hardcover – March 10, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition (March 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316199079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316199070
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #637,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

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

From Publishers Weekly

The small dramas of teenage love get caught in the crosswinds of a war in this sequel to the 2001 bestseller Jim the Boy. It's late summer 1941, and Jim Glass, now a high school senior, has an earnest, unshakable passion for classmate Chrissie Steppe. But as straightforward as his feelings are, the circumstances of his nascent romance are complex: Chrissie's family is indebted to their landlord, whose sailor son Bucky claimed Chrissie as his girl before shipping out to serve on the USS California at Pearl Harbor. Throughout Jim's fraught final year at school, he relies on the advice of his uncles, but after Pearl Harbor is bombed, they can't protect him from the war's toll. Questions of patriotism, sexuality and poverty weave their way into a narrative that's deceptive in its simplicity: the growing pains that Jim and his friends experience pack a startling emotional punch. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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In so far as how this took me back to my teen years, well that's for another day !
Kalyan Sengupta
I appreciated the way the author kept the story basic, and focused on the simple drama of his ordinary, but touching characters.
He would have found the characters and what happens to them to be just the way it was.
H. F. Corbin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jim Glass, the hero of Tony Earley's novel JIM THE BOY is now a senior in high school in rural North Carolina mountain country when THE BLUE STAR begins, is experiencing first love as only the young can as the United States is about to enter World War II-- The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor about half way through the story, an event that will surely affect the lives of all the young men of Jim's graduating class.

Tony Earley holds up a gentle but unflinching mirror to show us a time and place in our nation's history that is forever gone: the poor, isolated, sometimes prejudiced section of the country we call Appalachia. The character Dennis Deane, upon being told that the Japanese just bombed Pearl Harbor, is unaware what Pearl Harbor is although he manages to get a fourteen-year-old girl pregnant the first time they have sex. Chrissie Steppe, whom Jim loves madly, bears the brunt of racial prejudice because her father "Injun Joe," is a full-blooded Cherokee Indian. Poverty is never far from the most successful of families, whether it is those who till the land or the "lintheads" who live and work in the horrible mill towns.

In often deceptively simple but evocative prose-- although he can certainly turn a phrase when he chooses to do so-- Mr. Earley in this sweet though never saccharine novel has created a group of memorable characters, some of whom will tear the heart right out of you. Be prepared for your eyes to burn.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Sollami on April 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Tony Earley, like his mentor Ernest Hemingway, was first a journalist. Now an Associate Professor of English at Vanderbilt University, and called "the future of American fiction," Earley has battled chronic depression his entire life. Each of his deceptively simple sentences are hard-fought victories. And now, with four books squeezed out from his inconstant instrument, we readers are so damned lucky to have them.

This morning I finished "The Blue Star" and tonight I still ache and yearn to read it again. It's been a very long time since an American novel has touched me like this one. Perhaps Capote's "The Grass Harp" can compare. Tony Earley has captured something here, a delicate piece of American life and adolescent pain that I dare not even attempt to articulate. All the fine descriptions and wonderfully fresh dialog are spot on. Jim Glass, the young man at the heart of this work, is drawn like a moth to the flame called Chrissie Steppe. Nothing can be done about this sadly impossible love, as it is what it is. Yet so much more lies within this simple storyline. Families, poverty, tragedies, and huge uncontrollable world forces move within this book like seismic stresses that shake the earth and shape its destiny. And all the while, from the first page to the last, Tony Earley is forming clear pictures of people, of places, and of a significant time in our history that is gone forever. Here are some examples of his writing: "The orchards rolled away from the farm road in prosperous formation, ridge after terraced ridge, all the way to the top of the mountain. The grass was combed white with frost. The fruit trees glittered like fountains whose water had sprung suddenly from the earth, only to freeze before it touched the ground.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Ohl on August 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have to say it took me a little while to get into this book but when I did I found it worth it even though this is the type of book that I wouldn't have normally picked out for myself to read. I am glad, however, that this book was sent to me because I really did have a great experience reading it.

The time frame is on the eve of World War II and Jim is now a senior in High School. Jim has broken up with his long time girlfriend Norma, and has become smitten with a half Indian girl named Chrissie. The problem with this is the book takes place in Aliceville, North Carolina circa 1941 so racism and backwards thinking runs deep. Also, Chrissie's grandparent's also work and live on a prominent family's property which their son has laid claim to Chrissie to be his fiance, no matter how much Chrissie disagrees with it. Jim, through twists and turns in the plot line, and family secrets revealed, pursues Chrissie, having fallen in love with her.

The sexist, bigoted, and downright backward way of the characters is sometimes hard to see past or even relate to when you are 31 years old and have no clue on how things really were back then but it's also interesting if you find that period in American history something you wish to relive or learn about. Another refreshing thing about this book is it's a book that if my 13 year old would pick up I honestly wouldn't have any problems with her reading but it's not a young adult book by any stretch of the means. I'd recommend this book to a few members of my family and friends.
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