Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Blue Star by Tony Earley

I picked up this book because I had read Jim the Boy by Earley. The story of Jim Glass's childhood and upbringing and enjoyed it. This book begins with the start of Jim's senior year in high school which is just before the December 7th bombing of Pearl Harbor. The setting is in a small farming community in the mountains of West Virginia. Jim has just broken off with his long time girlfriend Norma to whom everyone assumed he would get married. And promptly fallen in love with a new raven haired beauty who is promised to a sailor and cannot date him.
Readers find out what happened between Norma and Jim and how Norma chooses to handle it. They see Jim unable to leave alone the girl who would not have him. There is a town dance during which Jim's best friend Dennis Deane gets a younger student pregnant. Dennis drops out of school. Marries the girl and goes to work at a saw mill in a neighboring town. Its a hard life for him and Ellie even though they are in love. The sailor Chrissie was to marry is blown up at Pearl Harbor and still Jim hates him, resents him, believes its him preventing Chrissie's interest in him. As soon as the school year ends many of the boys including Jim prepare to ship out to military training and the war, hoping they will come home again. There is a tear filled bitter sweet ending sure to make any girl cry. This is romance from a guy's perspective than anyone could enjoy. The setting in World War II, the language, the religious attitudes, the prejudices are all well done. I think lover's of books by Nicholas Sparks would especially enjoy this book. Its not too big, its not as cliched, its not overly dramatic as Sparks can sometimes be. By the way The Blue Star of the title is a flag hung in the window of houses where son's were serving in the war.

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