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Jim the boy
Tony Earley
Adult Fiction EARLEY

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Simple, resonant sentences and a wealth of honest feeling propel this tracing of a 10-year-old boy's coming of age in Aliceville, N.C., in the 1930s. Earley's debut novel (after his well-received collection Here We Are in Paradise) carries us, in charmingly ungangly fashion, toward its moving, final epiphanies. Quizzical, innocent Jim Glass lives on a farm with his widowed mother and three uncles, who provide companionship for the boy and offer casual wisdom on life's travails. Jim's father's sudden death at age 23 left a wake of tenderness as his legacy, so much so that Jim's mother still feels married even after his death. However, she will never speak to her father-in-law, who has spent some time in jail and is a despicable loner with a rumored penchant for illegally distilled whiskey. The stormy background Earley provides makes Jim's openness and na‹vet‚ all the more haunting. The narrative develops as a series of loosely related, moving anecdotes: the tragic story behind Aliceville's name, a trip with an uncle to buy a horse that becomes a lesson in the transience of corporeal life, a race up a greased pole at a carnival that casts a new light on Jim's bonds with another boy, Jim's best friend's struggle with polio, Jim's mother's resistance to a suitor, and the introduction of electricity to Aliceville on Christmas Eve. In roundabout fashion, and in simple, often poetic prose, Earley brings his protagonist to knowledge of his identity. The dramatic and entrancing growth of this wisdom may strike some readers as overly sentimental. Nevertheless, the closure the book achieves is solid and well-earned. 7-city author tour. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This is the story of the tenth year in the life of Jim Glass, a boy growing up in fictional Aliceville, NC, in 1934. Though well read by L.J. Ganser and nicely produced, there just isn't much novel in the container. Earley's talent for description is fine, but description alone doesn't provoke a sense of nostalgia for simpler ways, simpler times. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of character growth, not much insight into the preteen mind or into country or town life in Carolina during the Depression. So, what is it? Some short stories with a set of common characters; not much happening, no easily discernible plot. A fatherless boy is raised by his mother and his three uncles. Things happen, some of which are mildly interesting, and the boy grows a little older tape by tape, chapter by chapter. Recommended for those interested in the 1930s South or in Southern writers.DCliff Glaviano, Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Jim "Doc" Glass
Age: 10
Raised by his mother and uncles.

Penn Carson
Age: 10
Jim's friend.

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