For fans of To Kill a Mockingbird, The King's Speech, and The Help. A boy who stutters comes-of-age in the segregated South, during the summer that changes his life.
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.
I'm typing about the stabbing for a good reason. I can't talk.
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...
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).
Full Review (762 words).
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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- PW Starred Review
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