Wednesday, July 31, 2013
....I'm strangely in love with this book.
...no really, it's kind of fantastic and I just want to go on about it like a schoolgirl with a first crush.
...but I'll try to restrain myself a little bit so this review will go somewhere.
An amazon 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." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE AND GROSSLY SHORTENED SUMMARY
If you do click on that amazon link, there's seven recommendations for the books, some top choice pick things, and a youtube link that I'm not going to click on because I already spend too much time on youtube. I don't want to talk about it.
I have needs folks.
I need to tell you that the voice of this book is so profound yet easy to read and understand. That the writing itself lends the narrator his voice (in a stutter) and it's also reflected on the pages in large white spaces. It makes the reading seem simultaneously faster and slower. The narrator (whose name is not revealed until the end, and in the book he's referred to as 'Little Man' fondly by many people) is the author of the story and it comes across as a narration combined with personal reflection, it almost reminded me of the movie Forest Gump but I think the heart of the character came across a lot easier in Paperboy.
I need to tell you that their is a surface story, there is an underneath the surface story, and there is the story that you will take away from the book (which probably will be different than the other two stories; maybe). The surface story is that young man takes on a paper route in 1959 for his friend who he calls Rat (as it is easier to say than Art (short for Arthur)) for a month while Rat is away to the farm to have dirt clod fights (and to do farming, maybe). The surface story shows you the odd people the narrator runs into on his paper route, and shows you some aspects of racism that was prevalent in Memphis at the time (DISCLAIMER: I don't know how historically accurate this all is). Underneath the surface story shows more of what the world looks like through the eyes of a stutterer and how he's always finding the hidden meaning in what people say and how they act towards him or around him. The underneath story shows the scary difference of 'two worlds' that occupy the same space (white vs black (RACISM PEOPLE, IT CAN BE A THEME WITHOUT THINGS GETTING TOO WEIRD)). The underneath story is clouded with confusion because the narrator doesn't know what it all means yet but he's trying to find it and he's trying to help you figure it out too. There's a lot more to it, but I have other needs (haha).
I need to tell you that I'm utterly in love with the story and trying not to get tongue tied about it, or immediately dive into the book again.
I need to tell you that the book will show that sometimes the people with the most outwardly challenging communication problems are sometimes the best at understanding the art of communication and how to really use it.
I need to tell you that every character the narrator encountered had their own flavors, their own mysteries that the narrator wants to figure out, and their own different conclusions.
I want to say I already did a round about way of summarizing the book, so I'm going to leave that well alone.
I would also like to say that there are some adult aspects to the book (like alcohol) but it is dealt with in a child's manner and cautious curiosity. The narrator doesn't partake in alcohol, but a handful of characters do and he observes the changes that happen with them. It's a little sad but kids who are 11 probably already have some sort of idea about alcohol (although hopefully not first hand experience) and the book displays the some sort of idea that the narrator has without getting gritty about it.
The language of the book seems like it could belong to 1959, especially with the way the characters spoke to each other. It kind of seems simple, but gets complicated when you look for the underneath story.
I guess you just REALLY NEED TO KNOW that I love this book. Because I clearly haven't said that enough already.