Ted Burke's Reviews > Jim the Boy

Jim the Boy by Tony Earley
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Mar 09, 2011

liked it

Earleys' rendering of a Perfect Past has it's attractions andcharms, and is in many ways endearing, as long as the reader remembersthat there was never a time in either their life or the life of anyone they know when such earnest happiness and satisfyingly extended good- will ruled the day. Suspension of disbelief is the best advice before perusing these pages.
Early evokes the simple tale of a boy being raised by his mother and four uncles in such a poetically sustained way--sure language, spare cadences, a sharp ear for knowing when stop a description-- that you forgive the over ripe sentimentality that is at the heart of this book.

The success, I think, is in the author's ability to describe Jim's point of view in a straight forward manner, free of seeming authorial intrusion: Jim and the others, particularly the Uncles, emerge as credible characters, each with their particular character ticks and quirks. This set of relationships, balanced and relatively sober, almost makes up for the sheer mysticism that Earley wants to cast on rural South Carolina during the 30s.

There is something subtly fake about this beguilingly transparent coming-of-age story, a Disney tale for the the Postmodern period, a reverse Alice Walker, a past that is re-assembled into a more perfect union.

Needless to say, I'm ambivilent about the tale and the telling, but it is a tribute to Earley's art

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Jim the Boy.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Matt (new)

Matt Speakes Personally I find it refreshing to read something a bit idyllic rather than the retread ironic, tragic, depressing stuff that's been the norm for 90 years. Yes, good people do exist, but they are rarely the stuff of novels. Good for Earley...

back to top