Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tony Earley, JIM THE BOY

Written in 2000, a charming story of a boy growing up in 1930s in a small town in North Carolina, with a heap of uncles and a single mother because his father (Jim the dad) died right before Jim the boy was born. It's told in third-person but focalized through the ten-year-old Jim's perspective. First line: "During the night something like a miracle happened: Jim's age grew an extra digit. He was nine years old when he went to sleep, but ten years old when he woke up. The extra number had weight, like a muscle, and Jim hefted it like a prize." But despite the wide-eyed boy's perspective that this first line suggests, Jim is no saint and this story isn't just sweet--it alludes to some fairly grisly pieces of American history, a mother who is too wrapped up in her husband's death, a horrible grandfather, the clash between mountain-folk and town-folk. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

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