Fiona McGier's Reviews > Pay It Forward

Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde
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's review
Nov 08, 2009

really liked it
Read in November, 2009

I found this book to be interesting from the first chapter. I don't usually read fiction novels that are not romances, since I write romance, so I'm always checking out the competition. But this book made me cry at the end. The story of a teen-aged boy who tries to change the world, seemed like a plot tailor-made for being a sloppy, feel-good kind of polemic about how people need to learn how to be more trusting. But the characters of his mother Arlene, his teacher Reuben St. Clair, his neighbor, Mrs. Greenberg, even the homeless man named Jerry that Trevor tries to help...all of these characters are sharply-drawn and become alive for the reader. And while I enjoyed the book, I feel sad that the central message, that we all need to learn to truly live by the golden rule, to treat others as we want to be treated, is still largely ignored. In the real world, everyone is looking out only for themselves, and some take delight in kicking others when they are down. What miracle would it really take, for human beings to start acting more kind to each other? And would it take the death of some innocent, as it always has done, for it to be achieved?
Read this book by all means, but be sure to have kleenex handy at the end.
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