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Jim the Boy: A Novel
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Jim the Boy: A Novel (Jim Glass #1)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  2,023 ratings  ·  366 reviews
Both delightful and wise, Jim the Boy brilliantly captures the pleasures and fears of youth at a time when America itself was young and struggling to come into its own.
Published April 25th 2001 by Little, Brown and Company (first published June 1st 2000)
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Jul 28, 2008 Thomas rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers who would like to learn how to craft an emotionally resonant scene
Recommended to Thomas by: fellow writers from my MFA program
I'm ashamed to admit the first time I tried reading this book I put it down. "What a dumb title for a book," my wife said when she saw what I was reading. Last summer, about sixty pages in, I put it away, thinking it too simple and quiet.

But of two of my good writing friends were unwavering in their testimony about this novel, so I picked it up again a few days ago, and I am so glad I did.

Jim the Boy is a wonderful novel, one of those books that will stand the test of time. From the perfect meta
Barb Middleton
I'm a fraud. I write children's book reviews and I'm an adult. In an ideal world children would write books for children, as well as, review those books, right? The child-adult dual audience dilemma (that's a mouthful) addressed in children's literature studies crossed my mind because the author says he wrote this book from a ten-year-old's perspective for adults, and not, for children. But I don't agree with him. The story reads like a children's book that addresses children and adults as its a ...more
Megan Jones
This was required reading in a Methods of Teaching Class, and it was unfortunately one of the worst books I've ever read. The characters were not well developed, there was no climax to the plot, which itself was way too wholesome and very picturesque. I would never ask anyone, especially students whose time is so limited anyway, to read this book.
ARC from Regal

Many times, I am introduced to books by authors I had no previous knowledge of. Authors that I may never have read, were it not for a helping hand. Regal Literary was the helping hand that introduced me to "Jim the Boy" by Tony Earley.

Set in North Carolina during the Great Depression, Earley takes us through a year in a young boys life, where he deals with the joys and frustrations of growing up, learning to appreciate who he is and where he comes from, and realizing that the world
Maybe it's because I'm finishing this book late at night in my quiet house, but it really has touched me, especially the last 5 pages or so. A really simply, yet powerfully told story of a young boy, Jim, whose life is small but whose challenges are startlingly big. Earley's style is lovely, I found beauty on every page. Would love to read more of his work.

This passage is from page 8.

"'There he is,' Mama said. 'The birthday boy.'
Jim's heart rose up briefly, like a scrap of paper on a breath of
This book is my favorite novel of the past decade. The hardback version looked to me like a children's book; fortunately, I read the cover of the paperback edition closely enough to realize better. Earley has crafted a wonderful version of a fatherless boy coming to understand the world beyond that of his immediate family. Although set in the Depression, Jim Glass' family does not suffer too much from economic hardship. It is in interacting with others that Jim gains some understanding of hard t ...more
Ron Charles
In an age as sophisticated as ours, what could be more avant-garde than daring to be sweet? "Jim the Boy" is essentially the tale of how a moral person develops in the care of loving adults. Jim, a 10-year-old farm boy, living with his widowed mother and three uncles during the Depression, is faced with the task of growing up. His life is ordinary without being cliche, and his feelings are rendered without an adult's tendency to sentimentalize or belittle. This remarkable novel is a reminder of ...more
Jen Heininger
I loved this book. Along the same vein as Peace Like A River or anything by Willa Cather.... loved the simplicity of it. I feel like my 6 year old could read this is in a few years and love it too. It's a great quiet book to read. It's not chick lit, it's not Unbroken.... it's just a peaceful, well-written book that, I thought, is very refreshing. (I was excited to learn that this is the first in what is supposed to be a trilogy by Earley.)
Book Concierge

Jim Glass turns ten as this novel opens. It is June 1934 and Jim and his mother live with his Uncle Zeno, right next door to his two other uncles, Al and Coran. The men farm, operate a grist mill, cotton gin and feed store. Jim’s mother, Cissy, is their sister and keeps house for them. Jim’s father died suddenly a week before Jim was born. He died without ever reconciling with his father, Amos Glass, who is a mountain man and former convict. As a result, Jim has never met his grandfather.

Leslie wrote this review @ it represents my thoughts so well.

Maybe it's because I'm finishing this book late at night in my quiet house, but it really has touched me, especially the last 5 pages or so. A really simply, yet powerfully told story of a young boy, Jim, whose life is small but whose challenges are startlingly big. Earley's style is lovely, I found beauty on every page. Would love to read more of his work.

This passage is from page 8.

"'There he is,' Mama said. 'The birthday boy.'
I think I should have rated this book even higher, but I think some people wouldn't enjoy it. I found it stunning in its use of language, seemingly so simple, but really so profound. The sensitivity of the boy and his family, the love they have for each other, and the way the author portrays them and the times seemed very real to me.
This book was recommended to me years ago by my old creative director Mark Figliulo, and even though it’s usually categorized as a young adult book, I read it with my six-year-old Ansel over the course of a few months. It a gentle, vivid, and beautifully Southern story that would sit comfortably in the company of To Kill A Mockingbird, Tom Sawyer, and Where The Red Fern Grows.
It’s a collection of stories - loose and formative experiences, really - centered around Jim Glass, a 10-year-old boy li
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2008 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brian by: Jim Raterman, Frank Kovarik
Jim the Boy is a refreshingly simple story about a 10-year-old boy, Jim, navigating the Depression-laced waters of Aliceville, North Carolina. Jim’s lost his father, but what he lacks from his absence he arguably makes up with the love and care from his three uncles. And I should say that the simplicity of the story comes with the prose, making it a fast read (though I’d imagine this book could, and perhaps should, be sipped and savored), but the heart of this book should satisfy even the most e ...more
Sara Latta
The News-Gazette, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. 11/15/09

Coming of Age in North Carolina

Although much young adult literature today is dark, edgy, and/or ironic, Tony Early’s “Jim the Boy” (Little, Brown & Company, 2000) and “The Blue Star” (Little, Brown & Company, 2008) are none of the above. Technically speaking, they’re not young adult novels, either: Earley has described “Jim the Boy” as “a children’s book for adults.” Still, many teen readers will love these books, especially those who
Jim the Boy is a quiet, evocative novel. It reads easily, but I found myself reading slowly, taking breaks after each chapter, in order to savor the book for a bit longer. The titular Jim lives in North Carolina during the Great Depression and while Earley's writing certainly takes you to a specific time and place, Jim the Boy is also the story of growing up and the aches and pains that process brings. Can you remember longing for more responsibility, only to want to shirk your duties once they ...more
At a 3.82 average rating, I'll take full responsibility for bringing down the curve. Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie with a male central character, but not nearly as good. The kid's a brat. Perhaps we're supposed to believe his unappealing character has been shaped by the absence of his father (who died before he was born), despite the fact he has four uncles (or was it three? I lost count). Sure, like a phantom limb he feels a connection to his father (or wants to understand ...more
Chris Callaway
A simple coming of age story about a boy who begins to get a feel for what life is about. I loved it, and I'm not even completely sure why I loved it, but part of the reason is its portrayal of how complicated life can be or seem to a boy, even one growing up in a small, Southern town where life is supposed to be "simple." I enjoyed the whole thing, but the ending blew me away. There's a simple, straightforward authenticity to the book that derives from the author's style--it reads almost like J ...more
This book is all about great writing. It is written in a lilting, lyrical style that helps to evoke the feelings of nostalgia the story intends to exploit as it helps us to see that the past is just the past; a mixture of experiences that make us who we are by shaping our perspective on the world. The comfort some of us experience when we look back is really just a reaction to the security we feel in knowing how that story ends. The future is so much more uncertain, with death looming at the end ...more
H L Gibson
Read my full review at on 4/21/15
I had heard of this book when it first came out, but didn't get around to reading it until now. The accolades it received when it was first published are well deserved. The story was utterly charming and a fast read that I didn't want to put down. It's a quiet, simple story, but something about it was entirely page-turning. I can't quite explain it, because it lacks high drama or intrigue. Jim is, on the outside, quite ordinary, just a "boy." But maybe with all the turmoil in the real world this ...more
This is a lovely little book that reads like a time out from the world. It is the story of a young boy being raised by his widowed mother and her three brothers in a small fictional town in North Carolina in the 1930's. Jim, the boy, or Doc as his uncles call him, has just turned ten and is teetering between growing up and accepting responsibility and wanting to remain a child. Some of the things he did and said made me gasp out loud but they were shocking in a totally age appropriate way - you ...more
Donald White
One of the most beautiful books I have read in years. I would read it again (and I rarely read a book twice). So elegant and beautiful. The characters were realistic, the mother was the most fascinating, though young Jim is the main character. The author truly did not leave his own childhood far behind, because the book seems so genuine and true to childhood experience. I would put it up there with John Steinbeck's works about rural Americans in its descriptions, setting, and characters. One can ...more
Marjie Smith
This is a wonderful book about a boy growing up with a widowed mom and three unmarried uncles, who all filled in as father figures. It is about coming of age, about dealing with prejudices and selfishness. It is a book about family values and living up to them.
The book looks at things that are important to boys – security, friends, baseball – and how they all weave together to teach Jim how to be a better friend to Penn, a mountain boy who is related to him through his mother. When Penn takes il
This book is a tender look into the life of Jim Glass during his tenth year in Depression-era North Carolina. I'm a sucker for a good coming-of-age novel, and this one didn't let me down.
Vincent Lowry
I randomly picked this novel up at the bookstore.

I was pleasantly surprised by it, and I think you'll agree if you read it!

Malcolm Jones of Newsweek said this about the author, “Tony Earley bewitches his readers with an idyll of boyhood so completely realized that we never want to leave it.” In this Novel, Jim the Boy, the author does exactly that. He steps into his story immediately and immerses the reader in the mind and thoughts of a 10 year old boy.

Here is the first passage of the book:

“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
Tony Earley- Jim the Boy (Little, Brown and Company 2001) 4.75 Stars

After Jim Glass passed away leaving behind an expecting wife, Cissy sees no other choice than to call her son Jim Glass in honour of the man she loved. Now Jim is ten years old and he lives with his mother during the Great Depression. His three uncles are left to teach him the responsibilities of being a man. He is trying to learn the breaks and now his school has been combined with all of the outlying schools, including the mou
A novel set in the 1930s with a 10 year old boy as the central character. Jim’s father dies one week before Jim is born, who is then raised by his mother and his 3 bachelor uncles in North Carolina. Author Earley’s simple prose and dialogue move this story along, with his descriptions of nature becoming almost a character. The book is tender and helps one to understand the love of others in shaping our lives. I read the last two pages 3 or 4 times out of enjoyment. I would recommend this book. W ...more
Jo Deurbrouck
I expected to like this book more than I did, having enjoyed listening to Tony Earley speak at a writers conference and having pretty much drooled over every page of his short story collection (whose name escapes me at the moment).

And even though I didn't love "Jim the Boy," I finished it positive I should have: All the necessary bits were there -- jewellike bits of prose, quirky characters with quirky relationships living in a quirky town and going about their quirky lives under the benevolent
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