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Stars Go Blue

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  213 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Laura Pritchett is an award-winning author who has quickly become one of the west’s defining literary voices. We first met hardscrabble ranchers Renny and Ben Cross in Laura’s debut collection, and now in Stars Go Blue, they are estranged, elderly spouses living on opposite ends of their sprawling ranch, faced with the particular decline of a fading farm and Ben’s struggle ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Counterpoint (first published May 19th 2014)
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Laura Resau
Reading this book was a profound experience that I don't think I'll ever forget. It made me FEEL so DEEPLY. It made me feel BIG things, like life and death and love and sorrow and laughter and landscape... Pritchett has this incredible ability to capture the expansive range of human experience and make readers feel it all, right down to their bones. I was already crying just a few pages in-- but the good kind of crying, the kind that lets you glimpse what matters about being a human on earth. Th ...more
Pam
Despite having won a number of awards for her previous books, Laura Pritchett's newest novel may top them all. Stars Go Blue is wintery, passionate and poignant, with characters you want to sweep up in your arms to either heal, or to borrow some of their peaceful presence. This book is particularly moving if you have ever loved someone with dementia. It is full of love for animals and ranching and mountains; full of love of details of the Colorado landscape; full of love for the prickly people i ...more
Benjamin Dancer
Stars Go Blue  A Novel by Laura PritchettThe novel reads quickly for three reasons: it’s suspenseful (a bit of a thriller), the reader is captivated by the characters and its lean. A number of things impress me about Laura Pritchett’s story. Let’s start with Ben, one of the protagonists.

Ben wouldn't be a man you’d notice on the street. He's not somebody that would stand out. But because of the attentive focus of the narrative, the old man gets inside your heart and emerges as a hero, becomes somebody you wish you could know, have as a
...more
Diane S.
A brutally honest and unflinching look at a family tragedy and an elderly husbands descent into dementia. Beautifully and poignantly told, the cold weather, the snow and a man's last attempt to right a wrong. The love hate relationship Remy has as a caregiver to her husband of many years. Her resentment and impatience, all so real, as she contemplates the lack of a future they will not have. The notes, the reminders, the struggle as Ben tries so hard to hold on to his thoughts long enough to fin ...more
Tracy
Despite a difficult subject matter, this book has a plot that sucks you right in and won't let you go until you finish the last page. The portrayal of dementia itself and also how it affects loved ones was real and haunting. I enjoyed references to local landmarks, like "Fern's". :)

You have to read this amazing book from local and wonderful author Laura Pritchett.
Corey
What a brave and scary thing for a writer to do. By writing in the voice of a protagonist with Alzheimer's, Pritchett forced herself to live in her own father's head. Because both fathers (real and fictional) have the progressive disease, the bittersweet reality of love and loss are profound. But that's not all this novel has to offer. It's just the tip of the iceberg really. I stand in awe of the skill and guts it took to weave such a beautiful story.
Karen West
I was so moved by this short novel. It is about Renny and Ben who are estranged. Ben is struggling with Alzheimer's, and his wife is struggling with being his caretaker. They are both struggling with the murder of their daughter and the release of her murderer from prison. The book is beautifully written, and the characters are well developed. I cried as the characters let me into their lives. A story of family love and the tragedies that life deals us. Set in Colorado, the setting became one of ...more
mark
Aug 02, 2014 mark rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Serious readers & writers
Recommended to mark by: Laura Pritchett
This novel is a Psychological Drama, and it is disturbing – you’ve been warned. It is about diseased minds, both genetically and environmentally caused, and the interaction of both and the dire consequences of diseased minds. Stars go Blue is about death, dying, and killing. It’s about small towns and rural ranch living, which hardly is living at all – but a slow, painful death that struggles to minimize suffering. It’s about being old and how to die. It is about stuff most of us don’t want to t ...more
Paula Margulies
A poignant, mesmerizing tale about a rancher with Alzheimer's who seeks revenge for his daughter's death. Beautifully written, with characters whose voices resonate long after the final pages.
Carmel Mawle
Couldn't put it down, Still resonating

Laura Pritchett’s novel, Stars Go Blue, is about the ranching family whose narrative began in her earlier novel, Hell’s Bottom, Colorado. (No need to read the prequel; Pritchett gives the necessary information.) A lifetime of predators, difficult births and deaths, has taught these rugged characters that some lives can be saved and some cannot.

Most of the novel alternates between the voices of Ben, the family’s patriarch who is dying from Alzheimers, and Re
...more
Barbara Richardson
Pritchett's newest novel moved me deeply. Chapters alternate between aging rancher Ben, who's mind is giving way to Alzheimers, and his estranged wife Renny. Being inside Ben's mind is no small feat, but feeling empathy—shockingly clear moments of empathy—for his stressed, harsh wife, well, that made me fall in love with the book in chapter two. "Stars Go Blue" is a page-turner, a very poetic and thoughtful page-turner, because the writing is so lean that everything hues to the story unfolding. ...more
Tuck
a continuation and opening up of pritchett's short stories centered around ben and renny cross's ranch on the east side of the rockies. Hell's Bottom, Colorado you know what's on the east side of the rockies right? flat earth, no rain, constant wind, 2 inch tall grass. and families. so the old couple are facing bad bad health and a small small window for justice. will justice be done? is more death and heartache worth the satisfaction? hard people, hard life and histories, hard choices in compel ...more
Mara
I haven't read Hell's Bottom, Laura Pritchett's earlier novel and the background story to Stars Go Blue, but this book stands quite well on its own (although reading this one has made me put the earlier novel on my "to read" list). Pritchett does an impressive job of exploring what it is like to be in the mind and body of an Alzheimer's/Dementia sufferer, but, it is not all about the suffering. The characters are well developed and endearing.
Life isn't all roses, nor is it a field of dandelions.
...more
Sharonm
This was an incredibly powerful book about Alzheimer's, and I wouldn't recommend reading it without a box of tissues nearby. The characterization is astounding, as is the sense of place. The main character, Ben, is a rancher in Colorado whose mind is slowly deteriorating. He is aware of the disease, the name of which he cannot remember. He has good days and bad days, remembering more or less, but one thing he does remember. His daughter was shot to death by her drug-addled husband before his ey ...more
Laura
The story of Ben and Renny Cross as they navigate their lives on a Colorado ranch after the violent death of their daughter and Ben's onset of Alzheimer's.

From page 100 on I found myself reading each chapter and closing the book for a moment to take a breath and contemplate and maybe a little to stall the ending. This is the second book I've read these past few months that looks inside the mind of Alzheimer's. The other was Elizabeth is Missing. I now want to read Pritchett's short story collec
...more
Sara
Excellent writing. An older man faces Alzheimer's and the depiction surely is accurate as to how it affects him. He and his wife live on a ranch in CO. They haven't gotten along well since their daughter was murdered years ago by her husband but now the wife is the caretaker. The chapters alternate between them giving each a chance to describe their circumstances. When the former son-in-law is released from prison, the old couple finally begin to deal with these issues leading to a surprising en ...more
Carie
Fantastic.
Kelly McCloskey-Romero
I found this story profoundly beautiful. Ben is struggling with Alzheimer's disease, and the author's portrayal of his befuddlement was so touching and hopeful. His wife Renny is justifiably angry and lonely. Their family suffered a tragedy five years ago; their daughter was murdered. This is a story of trying to set things right when things have gone horribly wrong. It's set on a ranch in northern Colorado and the writing is vivid and wonderful.
Linda
Well-written, compelling story.
Have to go on record, though, not supporting ending one's life because of Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's does take away the person you knew, but it leaves a person who can feel, love, and connect, even if sometimes it is briefly. We need to spend more time, energy, research on best-practices for living with Alzheimers.
But, this is a well-written book, nevertheless. Not just about Alzheimers.
Caroline
An interesting and suspenseful read written from the perspective of a man suffering from Alzheimer's and his estranged wife/caregiver. I enjoyed the characters and storyline and the author's effort to be inside the head of someone with Alzheimer's dementia. We can only imagine what that must be like from the inside, but the author did a good job of expressing it.
Joni
Told in a series of dreamlike vignettes, the author weaves a tpestry of stories involving Renny, Ben and family. A tragedy and murder tear the fabric of their lives apart and alzheimer's threatens them even more. Through it all, the tenacity of this ranching family and their love for family and land make this luminous book a triumph and delight to read.
MaryP
I loved this book. Thank you Ms. Pritchett for a beautifully sad story. Your character Ben just grabbed my heart.

I had just written this when I got an email from my sister (after recommending this book to her) with a copy of an article from the Denver Post about Ms. Pritchett. It was interesting to see how she felt about writing the book. Love it even more now.
Celia
Stars Go Blue is a very touching story. The author does a beautiful job of representing the heart-wrenching progression of Alzheimer's disease and how it effects both the individual with the disease and those around them. She does this as she weaves a complex tale of a family that has faced other tragedy as well. The book reads very easily, but has some very complex insights.
Sallyvavrek
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cynthia
A beautifully spare narrative, with a compelling plot and memorable characters. Pritchett's sense of place and her ability to add just the right small details set a perfect tone for this novel. I was swept up in the story and felt completely in tune with all of the characters and their struggles. I don't know what it's like inside the mind of an Alzheimer's patient, but Pritchett's characterization of Ben (who is somewhere on the continuum between diagnosis and complete breakdown into dementia) ...more
Sally Kitter
Stars Go Blue is a hauntingly beautiful tale of a family. I'm afraid if I say anymore I'll either give parts away or write yet another synopsis on a page full of them. Absolutely a must-read, but don't forget the box of tissues.

I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads first reads giveaway.
Michelle Ozipko
Best read of the summer!

"My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart concealing it will break"
Sarah
Heartbreaking. Uplifting. Exquisite. Pritchett writes some of the most beautiful prose I have ever read.
Vida
Beautifully written. Reminded me quite a bit of Kent Haruf (who the author thanks in the acknowledgement section at the end).
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Laura Pritchett is an American author.
More about Laura Pritchett...
Hell's Bottom, Colorado Sky Bridge Going Green: True Tales from Gleaners, Scavengers, and Dumpster Divers Great Colorado Bear Stories Home Land: Ranching and a West That Works

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“Tell ya what I'm gonna do, see. I'm not going to hope. Now, you don't either. Don't hope your life will get better. Just make it so. Don't hope you are able to handle this baby. Just do it. Just be glad, just move fast, just do what you need to do. But for god's sake, don't hope. Just be...Just be...” 1 likes
“Sometimes this disease reminds me of a Stellar’s jay.” And Zach, sweet Zach, says, “That was well put, Renny,” and winks kindly at her. She tries to stop the smile but it’s too late. She curled her hair this morning with pink plastic curlers and she’s glad she did that because what- oh-what source of joy is there left for her in this world? She is not interested in men and their sexual needs (oh, what a relief, when she took Ben’s hand off her breast decades ago and told him that she was just done with that stuff), but she could use a friend, maybe even a friend that would rub her stiff shoulders and hold her hand, and it might as well be a man since she can’t picture wanting a woman to touch her. Everyone is still smiling at her. Smiling extra hard. She is an honored martyr. She knows that they know. That she has already lost a daughter. And on top of this she has Ben, whose speech and thought has quite suddenly taken a turn for the worse. So she gets an especially high grade for her suffering. And that’s what humans want. To feel special. Even for stupid reasons. Bastards, all of them, she says to herself, to the friendly and smiling faces, all bastards except for maybe Zach. Maybe she hates them all.” 1 likes
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