Paperboy, by Vince Vawter, is about a boy who stutters who takes over his best friends paper route for a month. In this month, this boy grows and learns how to deal with other people and his stuttering.
I did enjoy the book and saw why it won the Newbery Honor Award. The main character was unique and a joy to read. I never read a character that had a stuttering problem and the different ways that he would have overcome his speech impediment. It was both interesting as well as enjoyable. I also enjoyed seeing the growth of this character. From a person who is shy and stays away from people to one who starts to confront with people and join them in their conversation. You get to see how our main character gains a few friends as well as starting to solve his own problems. I also enjoyed the writing style. There was no commas and now quotation marks. It was interesting to see how my mind quickly adapted to this different style. It fits for our main character and why he would make such a conscious choice in his writing. However, the main problem that I had for this book was that it felt like a middle school version of To Kill a Mockingbird. I was even able to align most of the characters from Paperboy to Harper Lee’s book. The only difference was the end, some missing characters, like Scout’s brother, the court scene, and the racism that was prevalent in Harper Lee’s book. The other problem that I had with this book was the lack of closure. I am not sure what happened to the other characters in the book that our main character interacted with, but it felt like Vawter just skimmed it out and gave them happy endings.
In the end, I gave this book three out of five stars on Goodreads. If I was honest, I would give the book 3.5 stars, but not enough for four stars. The parallel to Harper Lee’s book was interesting and it did not bother me as much as the lack of closure about the other characters that our main character interacted with for the month that he was delivering papers.
I am also not sure if I would recommend this book. I did enjoy it, however not enough to want to place it into your hands. If you come across the book, check it out and see if it is a good fit. In addition, I do not recommend this book as a read-a-loud. The stuttering will be to hard to do for a read-a-loud. Also, I would also add that I would not give this book to anyone ten or younger. There is a lot of violence and alcohol throughout the story.