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Paperboy: An Enchanting True Story of a Belfast Paperboy Coming to Terms with the Troubles

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3.90  ·  Rating details ·  236 ratings  ·  50 reviews
It’s Belfast, 1975. The city lies under the dark cloud of the Troubles, and hatred fills the air like smoke. But Tony Macaulay has just turned twelve and he’s got a new job. He’s going to be a paperboy. And come rain or shine – or bombs and mortar – he will deliver…

Paperboy lives in Upper Shankill, Belfast, in the heart of the conflict between Loyalists and Republicans. Bo
...more
Kindle Edition, Kindle Edition, 291 pages
Published November 24th 2011 by HarperCollins (first published March 10th 2010)
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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  236 ratings  ·  50 reviews


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Rebecca McNutt
I love books set in the Seventies, and Paperboy, a moving and exciting historical memoir, is definitely no exception. The author captures the scenery of Ireland and the atmosphere of the times as if he's playing an old home movie.
Apratim Mukherjee
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is a book set in the seventies in Northern Ireland (Belfast to be particular).
Now generally the title might suggest that this would be a story of hardships and conflicts where a teenager becomes a victim.But it turned out to be the exact opposite of what I thought.The book is about a paperboy who has to balance his professional life with his personal life.And this story of balance made me laugh hysterically many a times.A well written humorous book on day to day life in Northern Ireland dur
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David Campton
It's always strange reading something by someone you know well. particularly as I tend to hang all my thoughts out to dry on sites like this... Not reviewing a book I've just read would be tantamount to devastating criticism. Given that I previously trashed a theatre production that Tony was in to his face (without realising he had been in it... the production had been about 15 years before) I hope he will forgive any mild criticism of this book. And it will be mild, because I really enjoyed it. ...more
Nicola Mcfall
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really thoroughly enjoyed this book. Although based in 1970’s during the Northern Irish troubles, which isn’t always the basis for the most uplifting of literature, this book is REALLY funny. I laughed out loud throughout. Although I grew up a decade or so later, and in Ballymena (which gets some stick from Tony in the book. lol) the atmosphere and feeling of growing up during the troubles felt very true to me and it transported me back to my own childhood. We were aware of what was going on, ...more
Lori
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This is a memoir by Tony Macaulay. It mostly takes place in 1975-about 1977. at this time he was 12.Tony lived in Belfast Ireland. his first job was a paperboy. this was during some of the worst of times on Belfast the troubles between the Catholic and protestant religions. while he was still a boy he witnessed the fights, the bombs going off the fight for and against the IRA. meanwhile he is growing up, managing his paper route. experiencing his first crush. playing the violin in the school orc ...more
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Brian
Cover Story: Oh, Mr. Wilson!
Drinking Buddy: You Even Got to Ask?
Testosterone Level: F**k You Lookin' At?
Talky Talk: English Speaking Country, My Ass
Bonus Factors: Rip-Off Comic Book Ads, Golden Age of Television
Bromance Status: The Big Brother Who Constantly Beats the Shit Out of Me

Read the full book report here.
Katie
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a child that grew up in Belfast in the 70's and 80's I could just picture wee Tony on his paper round. It brought back lots of memories from my own childhood that I had forgotten about. You don't need to be from Belfast to enjoy this lovely book which should strike a chord with any child of the 70's.
SundayAtDusk
This has got to be the funniest book ever written about growing up in Northern Ireland. It also was the first one I've read by a Protestant. I didn't even realize that until I would wonder why he said what he did in certain places at the beginning of the book; even though I knew he was a Protestant, it still didn't sink in for a while; I kept wondering why he said things that made him sound like he wasn't Catholic! Finally, his Protestant nature sank deep into my mind, and I could proceed unconf ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
"Paperboy" is the memoir of Tony Macaulay, a young boy who takes on a job as a paperboy in Belfast during the 1970s. If you know your history, you may recognize that the mid to late 1970s were the setting for the so-called "Troubles" in Northern Ireland, a tumultuous time to say the least. Tony is old enough to realize what is going on around him but is still busy growing up. Even in the face of really horrible things, Macaulay maintains his humor!

I love memoirs so much. I always think it's rea
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J.P. Sexton
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently read Tony Macaulay's memoir about growing up In Belfast; "Paperboy." I grew up horizontally West of him in North Donegal. Derry was our weekly shopping place and like Belfast, it was being blown apart during at that time, so I could relate to his story.

Tony's stories brought back memories..maybe different to his, since he seemed to have a great love for the Bay City Rollers, whereas myself and my school mates despised them! The BCR were huge when I was in secondary school. The girls w
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Angeline King
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I bought this book, I assumed that it was a novel, and it is testament to the technique of the writer that I still didn't know by the last page that it was a memoir. I felt that I'd made a true friend in this 'Upper' Shankill boy who went to the posh grammar school where the kids pronounced their 'ings.' The satire was so understated and clever that it was easy to escape into a non-political world of the adventures of a Paperboy in the cultural context of 1970s Belfast, while surfacing now ...more
Jodi R.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a lovely little book about being a teenager in Belfast during the Troubles. The author's recollections are hilarious, and the portraits he paints of his life and the people and places in it are rich and vibrant. I smiled throughout, despite appreciating the horrific circumstances they were facing every day. It's always amazing to see how resilient people can be - especially kids. Sure, there are cars and businesses being blown up when you're trying to make your way home from school, but ...more
Sarah
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m not sure what I was expecting from this book... but it certainly wasn’t a laugh-out-loud funny account of the Troubles. But that’s what I got. As someone who grew up in Belfast, I loved the references to places I am so familiar with but, more than that, I loved the warmth and humour with which Tony Macauley tells his story- a story that seemed utterly authentic and thoroughly engaging. I’m not sure that someone not from Northern Ireland would necessarily engage with it as much as I did but, ...more
Mari
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought the book while visiting Belfast, in order to better understand everyday life during the Troubles, and this autobiography is really good because you discover Belfast through the eyes of a 12-years-old boy of the Upper Shankill (protestant quarter).
There is a lot of humour and wit and emotion, and it is really lively! I recommend it!
Rob
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic story of a young boy living amongst the 'Troubles' and life in Belfast, but with a naivety that comes with age. Beautifully told. This is a book I will definitely go back to read again.
Ryan Miller
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enchanting, engaging memoir of growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Macaulay’s pre- and adolescent wonder is well-written and entertaining.
Robin Peake
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Terrific holiday read. Might have to get into the whole series now
Eileen
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love all of Tony's books. I liked learning more about what it was like growing up during The Troubles in Northern Ireland
Megan
Nov 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tony Macaulay spent his formative years growing up in the working class neighborhood of the Upper Shankill in Belfast during the Troubles of the 1970s. On the one hand, Macaulay's youth is typical. He's eager to follow his brother into an early career of delivering the nightly Belfast Telegraph, he wears the dreadful clothes that were all the rage during the 1970s, gets picked on by his brothers, lives to steal kisses from the lovely Sharon Burgess at the disco, and is in love with the Bay City ...more
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Original review posted at Layers of Thought.

John’s quick take: An excellent, touching and hilarious coming-of-age story, set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. Also a “must read” for any ex-paperboys out there.

John’s description: In 1975, Macaulay was a twelve year old boy living in the Shankill Road in west Belfast. This was during the Troubles and the Shankill was a particular hotspot – a predominantly loyalist working class area, it was also the home of several loyalist par
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The Travelling Book
La mia recensione completa, in diretta da Belfast, online sul mio canale Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpCpl...

La delicatezza di veder raccontato un periodo della storia inglese così difficile dalla prospettiva di un bambino.
Lettura consigliatissima, se siete appassionati di storia o capitate da queste parti!
Kayla Beck
Review originally posted on Bibliophilia, Please.

Paperboy is Tony Macaulay's memoir that describes his experiences as a paperboy for the "Belly Telly" (Belfast Telegraph) in the 1970s during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Though it did not seem like a book that I would want to read initially, I decided that I wanted to give it a try after some thought. I had a very dear friend from Northern Ireland, and my fond memories of him tipped the tables in favor of Paperboy .

My knowledge of the rel
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Steve Smits
This is the memoir of a young boy who lived in the Shankill area of Belfast in the mid-1970's at the height of the troubles. He describes his life as a pre-adolescent who experienced the culture of the times growing into his teenage years amidst the turmoil of that violent period. As a Protestant, Tony was aware of the presence of "paramilitaries" of the UVF and UDA and of the threats posed by the IRA. He certainly understood the sharp divide between the Protestant and Catholic communities. But, ...more
Allan LEONARD
Tony Macaulay is a respected professional community relations and youth worker based in Belfast. For example, he has written independently, "A discussion paper proposing a five phase process for the removal of 'peace walls' in Northern Ireland".

This book is his story of being a 12-year-old paperboy, living in the Shankill area of West Belfast. I, too, was a 12-year-old paperboy, but that's where my shared experience starts and ends.

Tony so well tells his story. It is actually difficult for adult
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Tonya
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads
It’s Belfast, 1975. The city lies under the dark cloud of the Troubles, and hatred fills the air like smoke. But Tony Macaulay has just turned twelve and he’s got a new job. He’s going to be a paperboy. And come rain or shine – or bombs and mortar – he will deliver…


Paperboy lives in Upper Shankill, Belfast, in the heart of the conflict between Loyalists and Republicans. Bombings are on the evening news, rubble lies where buildings once stood, and rumours spread like wildfire about the IRA and th
...more
N.
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5

I may add some excerpts to this, later (book is in another room) but I absolutely agree with the word "enchanting" in the subtitle. The memoir of a man who was a paperboy in Belfast during "the Troubles", Macaulay does an excellent job of speaking through the eyes of a youngster who didn't quite understand what was happening around him and longed for peace. He talks about how much he enjoyed delivering papers and earning money, how he dealt with ruffians who often robbed paperboys on the da
...more
Beth Strand
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Paperboy” Will Steal Your Heart
When I was growing up in Catholic school in the 70’s, I knew that Belfast was one of those places you never wanted to go. We heard stories of pubs being blown up and innocent people killed on both sides of the conflict. Belfast, the way we heard it, was nothing short of a war zone. For Tony Macaulay, Belfast was home and those streets were where he delivered the Belfast Telegraph from 1975-1977.
In his memoir, “Paperboy” Tony takes us right into his world as young
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Krisz
May 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Somehow I expected more from this book: a more detailed description of actual events and how they happened, not just the exact memories of a boy. For example that customers were searched for bombs upon entering a shop only comes up right in the middle of the book.
I think this book targeted those who lived these times and wanted to remember, and not those who didn't really knew how it was. It seems to want to prove that life was happening no matter what, kids were kids, people were working, eatin
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Charlotte
May 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic book. I am not sure how it would read if you aren't from Norn Iron, but I loved it! Being an eighties child, I found it fascinating to read what life was like in a 70's Belfast. I didn't find these references beyond me.....everyone should know about the huge popularity of parallels, tartan and the Rollers, but the lingo might confuse folk from different parts of the world. I was smiling throughout, with references to Tayto and Veda, but what got me the most was mention of Corrymeela, ...more
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Tony Macaulay is a bestselling author, leadership consultant, peacebuilder, broadcaster and suicide prevention advocate from Northern Ireland. He was raised at the top of the Shankill Road in West Belfast at the start of thirty-five years of "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland, an experience that has shaped his life. He has spent the past 30 years working to build peace and reconciliation at home a ...more