Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel” as Want to Read:
Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  45 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
A book like you’ve never read, and probably shouldn’t if you experienced severe trauma as a child. PAPERBOY is a display of endurance, and a document of an era. Once you’ve met Jack and Kelly, you’ll not soon forget them.

This "emotionally raw, unflinchingly honest" coming-of-age novel deals with difficult teenage/adolescent issues. Set in the summer of 1969, PAPERBOY is an

Paperback, 262 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Casperian Books LLC
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Paperboy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Paperboy

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Vincent Louis
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Little did I know what I was getting myself into when I picked up this flaming hot frying pan of a novel; bare-handed. I read the first few chapters and was just hooked. I loved it but the love I feel for it is not the same love I express for dandelions and good dogs. This is the love of the lost and broken child inside of myself; and all of us. Now that I've put a little distance between finishing it and this review I've gained some perspective. Jack, the protagonist, is me. And yes all great c ...more
Elyse Walters
Feb 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
A book like this is not easy to write a review. Its not easy to 'rate'. It had to take courage to write.

I remember reading the books by Dave Pelzer: "The Boy Called It", The Lost Boy", and "A Man Name Dave". (my daughters were into reading these books at one time --so I did too). It was part of our 'Mitzvah' month --(service month when we were visiting a shelter bringing food and playing games with the children) ....

Its been a long time since reading anything even close to a book like this for m
Lisa Lieberman
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-by-friends
Devastating! I haven't felt this shaken by a book since reading Trainspotting many years ago. Of course, I recognized Jack in the wounded part of myself, which is what made the story so painful, but also so necessary.

Finding the right words to capture the truth of a terrible childhood is the greatest challenge a writer faces, and many back down or flinch before they get to the end. Not Bob Thurber. His ability to stay the course, and to keep us with him to the bitter end, makes him a hero. If y
This is a book that I don't really feel comfortable rating just yet. The writing itself is outstanding, but the material is dark, depressing and very disturbing. I didn't exactly go in expecting smiles and sunshine. I'd have been an idiot thinking that of any book subtitled "A Dysfunctional Novel", let alone after reading a few reviews here. What I found was so far beyond my comfort level that you might as well have strapped my kicking and screaming sensibilities to the Saturn V rocket and sent ...more
May 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Willing to deal with troubling teenage problems
Recommended to Lily by: Goodreads 21st Century Literature board
It is inappropriate to rate this novel as "really liked." The rating here is a statement of its power, its punch, not its likeability.

Thurber treats a troubling story with a one-two down for the count series of rounds. You walk away not certain you wanted to watch that fight.

The core issues straddle socioeconomic boundaries, but do pay attention to the stresses and limitations of options imposed by poverty and its surroundings, and by the lack of economic opportunities available to the character
Maria Essig
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. While I read it almost instantaneously, being captivated by the setting and author's light writing style when talking about such dark topics, there were not enough situations in the novel picturing other key characters to open up their personalities or tell their stories in more detail. To my taste, author focused too much on the ugly relationship between main character and his sister, especially as Bob Thurber kept describing it though petty much the same ...more
Oct 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The book jacket warns that things will not get better. But I read this breath held, hoping all the same. This is book isn't wonderful, because the writing is crafted and beautiful, though it is, and it's not wonderful because it's as ugly as real life, though that's true too. It's a great book, because even when it hurts you're willing to go with the characters to where ever they end up, fully invested, wanting more for them than the jacket promises.
Christine Cote
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read Paperboy because of comments about it by Vincent Carrella. I picked it up yesterday morning and finished it last night. I couldn't put it down, and now I can't get it out of my mind. It is human tragedy at its glimmer of hope. But I felt like I know these people. I've met them, but I had no idea. Now I do.
Sophia Roberts
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional. It is to the author's credit that this story feels credible (and how). It's not comfortable reading – and not for the faint-hearted – but many children endure what Jack suffers. They need more authors like Bob Thurber to tell their stories, which need to be read.
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
very interesting and disturbing
Brandon Rucker
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writers-i-know
This debut novel by Bob Thurber was released this past May 1, 2011 by Casperian Books. I received my autographed copy a couple of months prior to that official release date, but didn’t start reading until around March or so with a few stops and starts before fully committing (I’m easily distracted with all my different interests and I’ve got going on).

What I have read so far is classic Thurber, which is to say it’s a story about damaged people finding their way, told through his most intimate f
Well, this is going to be interesting...I think I am in for something I wasn't expecting when I started the book.
I heard the book is very good but reviews say it is disturbing. But I have read plenty of problem. Already there are hints at what is to come and yes, it is disturbing. I think the fact that this particular disturbing topic isn't covered in books as much makes it more uncomfortable to think about.
Mattia Ravasi
Mar 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Thurber's Paperboy is an highly disturbing novel on an incredibly difficult topic, a book which doesn't lack meaning but sadly isn't able to expand it as much as its problematic nature requires.
Video Review:
Blogbaas Van 'tVliegend Eiland
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
rated it it was amazing
Apr 07, 2011
rated it it was amazing
Oct 06, 2014
Camille Chidsey
rated it really liked it
Feb 06, 2013
Donna Denardo
rated it really liked it
Jan 26, 2016
rated it really liked it
Jan 23, 2014
rated it liked it
Mar 13, 2016
rated it really liked it
Apr 23, 2018
rated it really liked it
May 11, 2012
rated it really liked it
Mar 04, 2016
rated it it was amazing
May 25, 2014
rated it liked it
Jul 19, 2011
rated it it was amazing
Nov 26, 2017
rated it really liked it
Oct 08, 2015
Carolyn Bunkley
rated it it was ok
Apr 28, 2011
rated it really liked it
Feb 21, 2013
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
21st Century Lite...: Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel - Discussion (February 2013) 37 105 May 17, 2016 05:10AM  
2 Year Anniversar...: Thank you all for your participation! 6 7 Feb 26, 2014 10:26AM  
2 Year Anniversar...: * (Q&A) 17 6 May 04, 2013 09:31AM  
2 Year Anniversar...: Trivia #4 4 6 May 01, 2013 06:20AM  
2 Year Anniversar...: Trivia #3 3 6 Apr 30, 2013 05:27AM  
21st Century Lite...: Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel - General Resources (February 2013) 7 23 Apr 20, 2013 11:28AM  
Two year Anniversary 1 4 Apr 20, 2013 06:51AM  
  • Castles: A Fictional Memoir of a Girl with Scissors
  • Train To Nowhere: Inside an Immigrant Death Investigation
  • Placebo
  • Landing Light
  • The Rights of Desire
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, a Chicana Punk Story
  • GIRL: A Story for Every Les Being
  • Veronica's Nap
  • Death Wishing
  • Blind: A Memoir
  • Seeing Ezra: A Mother's Story of Autism, Unconditional Love, and the Meaning of Normal
  • Stockholm
  • Web of Lies - My Life with a Narcissist
  • Double Life: A Love Story from Broadway to Hollywood
  • Burmese Refugees: Letters from the Thai-Burma Border
  • The Glitter Scene
  • The Born Again Virgin
Bob Thurber is an American author, best known for his short fiction. The 2nd edition “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel.”(2011) was released in 2016 by Shanti Arts Books.
Over the years Mr. Thurber's work has received numerous awards and considerable praise, and been anthologized over 50 times, with selections utilized in schools and colleges as teaching tools and examples of concise but powerful pro
“Things I Used to Get Hit For: Talking back. Being smart. Acting stupid. Not listening. Not answering the first time. Not doing what I’m told. Not doing it the second time I’m told. Running, jumping, yelling, laughing, falling down, skipping stairs, lying in the snow, rolling in the grass, playing in the dirt, walking in mud, not wiping my feet, not taking my shoes off. Sliding down the banister, acting like a wild Indian in the hallway. Making a mess and leaving it. Pissing my pants, just a little. Peeing the bed, hardly at all. Sleeping with a butter knife under my pillow.
Shitting the bed because I was sick and it just ran out of me, but still my fault because I’m old enough to know better. Saying shit instead of crap or poop or number two. Not knowing better. Knowing something and doing it wrong anyway. Lying. Not confessing the truth even when I don’t know it. Telling white lies, even little ones, because fibbing isn’t fooling and not the least bit funny. Laughing at anything that’s not funny, especially cripples and retards. Covering up my white lies with more lies, black lies. Not coming the exact second I’m called. Getting out of bed too early, sometimes before the birds, and turning on the TV, which is one reason the picture tube died. Wearing out the cheap plastic hole on the channel selector by turning it so fast it sounds like a machine gun. Playing flip-and-catch with the TV’s volume button then losing it down the hole next to the radiator pipe. Vomiting. Gagging like I’m going to vomit. Saying puke instead of vomit. Throwing up anyplace but in the toilet or in a designated throw-up bucket. Using scissors on my hair. Cutting Kelly’s doll’s hair really short. Pinching Kelly. Punching Kelly even though she kicked me first. Tickling her too hard. Taking food without asking. Eating sugar from the sugar bowl. Not sharing. Not remembering to say please and thank you. Mumbling like an idiot. Using the emergency flashlight to read a comic book in bed because batteries don’t grow on trees. Splashing in puddles, even the puddles I don’t see until it’s too late. Giving my mother’s good rhinestone earrings to the teacher for Valentine’s Day. Splashing in the bathtub and getting the floor wet. Using the good towels. Leaving the good towels on the floor, though sometimes they fall all by themselves. Eating crackers in bed. Staining my shirt, tearing the knee in my pants, ruining my good clothes. Not changing into old clothes that don’t fit the minute I get home. Wasting food. Not eating everything on my plate. Hiding lumpy mashed potatoes and butternut squash and rubbery string beans or any food I don’t like under the vinyl seat cushions Mom bought for the wooden kitchen chairs. Leaving the butter dish out in summer and ruining the tablecloth. Making bubbles in my milk. Using a straw like a pee shooter. Throwing tooth picks at my sister. Wasting toothpicks and glue making junky little things that no one wants. School papers. Notes from the teacher. Report cards. Whispering in church. Sleeping in church. Notes from the assistant principal. Being late for anything. Walking out of Woolworth’s eating a candy bar I didn’t pay for. Riding my bike in the street. Leaving my bike out in the rain. Getting my bike stolen while visiting Grandpa Rudy at the hospital because I didn’t put a lock on it. Not washing my feet. Spitting. Getting a nosebleed in church. Embarrassing my mother in any way, anywhere, anytime, especially in public. Being a jerk. Acting shy. Being impolite. Forgetting what good manners are for. Being alive in all the wrong places with all the wrong people at all the wrong times.”
“A new day always forgives you, unless it's raining and you wake up in jail.” 8 likes
More quotes…