Summary and book reviews of Paperboy by Vince Vawter

Paperboy

By Vince Vawter

Paperboy
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  • Hardcover: May 2013,
    240 pages.
    Paperback: 23 Dec 2014,
    240 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Tomp

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About this Book

Book Summary

An 11-year-old boy living in Memphis in 1959 throws the meanest fastball in town, but talking is a whole different ball game. He can barely say a word without stuttering, not even his own name. So when he takes over his best friend's paper route for the month of July, he knows he'll be forced to communicate with the different customers, including a housewife who drinks too much and a retired merchant marine who seems to know just about everything.

The paper route poses challenges, but it's a run-in with the neighborhood junkman, a bully and thief, that stirs up real trouble - and puts the boy's life, as well as that of his family's devoted housekeeper, in danger.

Chapter One

I'm typing about the stabbing for a good reason. I can't talk.

Without stuttering.

Plus I promised Mam I would never tell what happened to my yellowhandle knife. Mam might say that typing is cheating but I need to see the words on paper to make sure everything happened the way my brain remembers it. I trust words on paper a lot more than words in the air.

The funny way I talk is not so much like fat pigs in cartoons as I just get stuck on a sound and try to push the word out. Sometimes it comes out after a little pushing but other times I turn red in the face and lose my breath and get dizzy circles going around in my head. There's not much I can do about it except think of another word or keep on pushing.

The lady my parents hired to show me how to talk is teaching me to use a trick she calls Gentle Air which means letting out a little of my breath before getting stuck on a word. So when I feel like I'm going to have trouble saying a...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

Although Paperboy is appropriate for readers age ten and up, I think this novel will appeal to many adult readers looking for a reminder of the moment when one begins to see the world through a wider lens.   (Reviewed by Sarah Tomp).

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Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

An engaging and heartfelt presentation that never whitewashes the difficult time and situation as Little Man comes of age. Ages 10-14.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. [A] tense, memorable story.

Booklist

Starred Review. The well-crafted characters, the hot Southern summer, and the coming-of-age events are reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird… This paper boy is a fighter and his hope fortifies and satisfies in equal measure.

School Library Journal

The deliberate pacing and unique narration make Paperboy a memorable coming-of-age novel.

Author Blurb Rob Buyea, author of Because of Mr. Terupt and Mr. Terupt Falls Again
An unforgettable boy and his unforgettable story. I loved it.

Author Blurb Jane Fraser, president of The Stuttering Foundation of America
Paperboy offers a penetrating look at both the mystery and the daily frustrations of stuttering. People of all ages will appreciate this positive and universal story as I did, but it will be particularly meaningful to anyone who has ever struggled with stuttering.

Reader Reviews
Kara Elizabeth Brooks

Can you fall in love with a book?
I really liked this book I thought it really "speaks to the people" in a way. It talks about situations that could to people now or situations that could have happened then. I really like all the characters in here because they are all ...   Read More

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A Peek Into Stuttering

The author's note at the end of Paperboy recounts his own struggles with stuttering. He admits this story is largely autobiographical, which makes Little Man's description of his stuttering that much more poignant:

"The reason I hate talking to people who don't know me is because when they first see me I look like every other kid. Two eyes. Two arms. Two legs. Crew-cut hair. Nothing special. But when I open my mouth I turn into something else. Most people don't take the time to understand what's wrong with me and probably just figure I'm not right in the head"

Stuttering can manifest in the repetition or elongation of a particular sound, or in a complete stoppage of speech. The cause of stuttering, also sometimes referred to as ...

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