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Mr. Blue

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  320 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
J. Blue is a young man who decides to take Christianity seriously, not as a chore but as a challenge. He spends his inherited wealth almost as soon as he gets it. He lives in a packing box on a New York City rooftop. He embraces the poor as his best friends and wisest companions, distrusts the promises of technology (except for the movies), and is fascinated by anything in ...more
Paperback, 148 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Loyola Classics (first published 1990)
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Written in the 1920's, published at the same time as Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Mr. Blue is the anti-thesis of Jay Gatsby, the self-made millionaire. He is a radical Christian, a modern day, St. Francis of Assisi, who has decided to live the Gospel message come what may. His story is devotedly told by his staunch friend, the book's narrator, who I found to be as sympathetic a character in his way as Blue was in his. We don't learn very much about either of the book's only real personalities, ...more
Written by screenwriter Myles Connolly, this gem of a story tells the fictional account of a twentieth-century Francis of Assisi—a man who embodied the radical joy and demands of the Gospel in his own day. Published just three years after The Great Gatsby, the introduction describes J. Blue as the anti-Gatsby, “the man Jay Gatsby might have become had he served a higher truth than the sound of money in Daisy Buchanan’s voice.”

In many ways this reminds me of a Frank Capra movie (view spoiler)
Oct 20, 2016 Kathi rated it really liked it
I found this small inspirational book when I was a teenager, and never forgot Mr. Blue, the eccentric main character who lived his short life marveling at the universe and praising the God who made it. His extreme acts made him memorable—from living on top of a early skyscraper in a tent so he was better able to appreciate the stars, to embracing “Lady Poverty” to better practice seeing God in the poor. His charismatic personality and his charity endeared him to others; God’s goodness was visibl ...more
Dec 18, 2011 Lenny rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-read
A story about a selfless man with a beautiful outlook on God, love, and the world around us. A lot could be learned from a man named Blue.
James Lang
I read an interesting review of this book, which emerged from the same milieu as the Catholic Worker movement in the 1920s, in America magazine. I found it sort of an interesting period piece, but not a very compelling novel. There's not much of a story, and it definitely gets preachy. It certainly didn't inspire me the way it has apparently inspired lots of Catholics during the 20th century. The scholarly apparatus was good, though.
Jan 27, 2017 Robert rated it liked it
Written to contrast with The Great Gatsby, this simple book has some good passages but is not compelling.
Christian Engler
Sep 20, 2013 Christian Engler rated it it was amazing
Mr. Blue, a Catholic novella, by Myles Connolly, is a very unique work of fiction and one that I thoroughly found pleasure in, because it portrays the adherence of faith and doctrine not as an obligation that bit-by-bit brings about mental burdensome affliction, but rather, it is presented as an exciting chllange that goes against the current social and political tide of what popular culture deems to be in vogue or the right way. It is a short work of nervy fiction that not only goes against the ...more
Mar 09, 2012 Liz rated it really liked it
It is a toss-up for me between 3 and 4 stars...but closer to 4 since Mr. Blue did strike a cord in me. I should have guessed that this was a religious book because it is a Loyola Classic and was part of Em's high school reading...but I didn't realize it when I first picked up the book off of Em's floor to read. It did help with my own journey into the Catholic faith - since the journey will always be continuous. I don't think that I could follow the footsteps of Mr. Blue - live in poverty and fi ...more
Lawrence Lam
Jun 09, 2014 Lawrence Lam rated it it was amazing

This is a great novella that has unfortunately been out of print for some time, despite the back cover saying it has been in print for decades. Its audience has likely been fenced in to " Catholic" audiences but it is not a Catholic book. This has appeal to anyone who enjoys the natural beauty of the world and delights in regular human experience. Blue personifies the ideal optimist, smiling and extracting childlike joy from the mundane to the absurd. Connolly has given us a reminder of how much
Oct 06, 2009 Stephanie rated it did not like it
My edition of this book by Myles Connolly is a really cute, small paperback, and delightful to carry around, but the contents disappointed me. I think it was the loneliness of the main character that left me empty.

He is a young man in New England who takes the commands of Jesus seriously, to sell everything you have and give to the poor, to forsake the normal path of security and comfort for a greater purpose. You sense that he is well-liked by everyone, but you hardly ever meet any of the peopl
John Pappas
Jul 27, 2011 John Pappas rated it liked it
Connolly's J. Blue, a "holy fool", is the antithesis of Jay Gatsby. When he receives his fortune, he does not seek to mingle with other rich and famous people, nor gain full admittance to the elite social world of the rich. Instead, he gives most of it away, burning through millions in order to follow the example of St. Francis and Jesus, but in Boston and New York. Blue refuses to accept compromise and never conforms to the values, mores and roles society (and the narrator) expect of him. His n ...more
Mar 13, 2013 Pamg rated it really liked it
I first read Mr. Blue almost 50 years ago. I adored it with the passion that is only possible in an idealistic 12 year old and read it, wept over it, multiple times before age and cynicism finally claimed me. The beat down copy from that era is still tucked away someplace safe where I could grab it quick in the event of natural or unnatural disaster. That said, it has been many years since I opened it, and my life has meandered far from that 60s-flavored Christian ideal, and my memories of youth ...more
John O'Brien
Dec 27, 2014 John O'Brien rated it really liked it
This novelette by Myles Connolly tickles the spiritual imagination. Set in Boston and NYC, its protagonist is a bit like Innocent Smith (of GKC's Manalive), an eccentric, driven by idealism and something that might be love, to do the socially unconventional. He will spark something in the reader. Perhaps desires to do great things. Perhaps a recovery poetic imagination. Perhaps the reorientation of one's life according to something radical. This was Connolly's most successful book (once a best-s ...more
Tim Mocarski
Apr 24, 2012 Tim Mocarski rated it it was amazing
I don't remember exactly when I first read about Blue other than that I was young, very young, and it left an impression that stayed with me well into my adulthood and still does today.

When I taught, students would often tell me that they could tell I was coming down the hall. They always heard me whistling. Sometimes I would attempt a familiar tune, but most often I would just whistle anything, just the sound was pleasant at least to my ears, just notes high and low as they seemed to fit toget
Faith Hough
Aug 24, 2014 Faith Hough rated it liked it
Shelves: adult
Eh.... Maybe my high expectations for this novel have something to do with my ultimate disappointment. Considering that Myles Connolly wrote or co-wrote some of my all-time favorite films (he worked closely with Frank Capra), I expected a lot more. But...there was no story. And while, viewed as a character dossier, it portrays an interesting person, the emphasis on creating a believable, rounded character made Blue's good points less creditable--that is, so much of his philosophy was slightly of ...more
Dec 29, 2011 Dan rated it really liked it
Should be a more celebrated novel. Like the back cover implies, this is what Jay Gatsby could have been - no idea why we celebrate The Great Gatsby, it's a shallow novel. This, however, is beautiful - a young man REALLY living, a modern day St Francis. I also took from this book that we're all called to be Christ to one another, especially the poor and forgotten. Wish I had half the courage of Mr Blue.
Oct 04, 2013 Dorinda rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Controversial Pres. of NYU swears every one of his students and colleagues must read this. ONly one of his many categorical pronouncements. Tried to read it........MEH! Not interesting enough to hold interest and too self-consciously pretentious to struggle with. Favorable comparisons with The Great Gatsby merely delusions of ransom reviewers. Gatsby has basis to sue.
Jun 09, 2014 Betty rated it it was amazing
I just learned Mr. Blue has been reissued. It was written in 1928, but it's even more significant now. It's one of the few books that I've read more than once. I read it in high school and dreamed about being a female version of J. Blue. Myles Connolly, the author, must have been something of a mystic.

It was published at the same time as The Great Gatsby and Gatsby got all the p.r.
Kaylah Hancock
Jul 19, 2016 Kaylah Hancock rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
I picked up this book because the title had the same name as my pet fish.

I appreciated the dynamics between Mr. Blue's whimsical yet poignant observations of the world with the often shallow and materialistic view of the narrator. it wasn't long at all and it did leave me in contemplation each time that I had set it down.

Overall it was an alright read
Jun 17, 2014 Peter rated it really liked it
Yes, Blue is the anti-Gatsby, a modern St. Francis. But his "Spies of God" are not the Franciscans. They're Opus Dei, coincidentally founded in 1928, the same year Myles Connolly published this fine novel. Recommended.
Feb 29, 2008 Philip rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone seeking spiritual growth
Recommended to Philip by: Fr. Joe Kelly
This is by far one of the best books I have ever read. Short but to the point; a beautiful, easy read with depth that makes you walk away from it thinking and wanting more. It is a timeless classic for anyone seeking the spiritual. A must read for everyone!
Marjorie Campbell
Aug 24, 2013 Marjorie Campbell rated it really liked it
Wonderful, thought provoking, lasting book about eccentricity within the Christian tradition. Loved it ... thought it ended weakly for the strength of the novel, but happily enjoyed this edition.
May 11, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing
Fantastic little book!
Great anti-Gatsby book, and a pleasure to read.
The scene with the Eucharist is one of the most powerful I have ever encountered.
Mary Vinson
Mar 18, 2013 Mary Vinson rated it really liked it
Thought provoking. What does God call me to be? Am I too stuck in the conventional wisdom of the culture to hear a call that is radical.
Jul 28, 2008 Charles rated it liked it
Mr. Blue has an austere, Franciscan outlook on life and lives in New York City. It wasn't bad, but it didn't grab me.
Shanny Rose
Sep 28, 2013 Shanny Rose rated it liked it
Shelves: teach
This is not the world's best example of a novel, but it is a unique and beautiful examination of conscience and a heartwarming and challenging touchstone of enthusiasm for the faith.
Michael C.
Michael C. rated it it was amazing
May 30, 2007
Maureen rated it it was amazing
Feb 17, 2016
Julie Davis
Julie Davis rated it liked it
Oct 28, 2014
carmen briceno
carmen briceno rated it did not like it
Mar 08, 2016
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“Your failure is measured by your aspirations. Aspire not, and you cannot fail. Columbus died in chains. Joan or Arc was burned at the stake. Let us all live snugly -- and life will soon be little more than a thick, gelatinous stream of comfortability and ignorance.” 0 likes
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