Reading guide for The Blue Star by Tony Earley

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The Blue Star

By Tony Earley

The Blue Star
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  • Hardcover: Mar 2008,
    304 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2009,
    320 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Vy Armour

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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. At the beginning of The Blue Star it is revealed that Jim's uncle Zeno once experienced a failed romance with Nancy, the mother of Chrissie, with whom Jim has now fallen in love. How does this shared history influence Jim and Chrissie's relationship?
  2. The book's title is derived from a banner displayed in the family house of those actively serving military duty. How does Bucky Bucklaw's departure for the navy on the eve of World War II affect Jim's feelings for Chrissie? How does it affect Jim's feelings about himself?
  3. Even though Chrissie is engaged to Bucky and Norma is eager to be Jim's bride, Jim refuses to consider spending his life with anyone other than Chrissie. What do you think his motivation is? Is it true love?
  4. Discuss Jim's decision to enlist in the army at the end of the novel. Were you surprised? Do you think Jim's decision was influenced by his uncle Zeno's refusal to enlist in World War I?
  5. The Blue Star is very much a story about becoming an adult, and at one point near the end of the novel Jim thinks to himself that "he had to be the worst adult on God's green earth" (page 262). Do you think this is a fair assessment? Why do you think Jim is so hard on himself?
  6. Discuss the impact on Jim's life of the death of his father so soon after Jim was born. How do you think this has shaped Jim as he becomes an adult?
  7. Like Tony Earley's previous novel, Jim the Boy, this story centers around the character of Jim Glass. Was Jim your favorite character in the novel? If not, who, and why?
  8. What do you think the future holds for Jim, Chrissie, Norma, and Dennis Deane? How will Jim and Chrissie's final encounter affect their futures? Will Norma move on now that Jim has left Aliceville? And how will Dennis Deane cope with parenthood? What would you like to see happen to each of these characters?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Back Bay Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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