Saturday, March 14, 2009

Review: Jim the Boy by Tony Earley

Jim is a young boy, heading into his teenaged years, who lives with his mother and three uncles in a rural North Carolina town during the Great Depression. It is a gentle coming of age novel in a more innocent time. There are no major cataclysmic events driving the plot. It is just (as if it could be "just" anything) a lovely, almost nostalgic look at a family and a place. My bookclub chose this book on one member's recommendation and because it is set not far from where we all live and we were split on how we felt about it. I would liken it to the creek meandering through my backyard. Small and seemingly insignificant, it brings wonderful wildlife to our backdoor and offers a quiet, peaceful and contemplative place to escape the street out front. This book felt the same way to me. One of the reviews on the back cover compares it to a folk ballad and that strikes me as appropriate too. This very quietness or ballad like feel was problematic for some of the readers in our group. But I appreciated the poignancy that is rare nowadays and I look forward to the newly released sequel that will let me slip back into Jim's life and coming adulthood.

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