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(Paperboy #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  9,927 ratings  ·  1,611 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter.
--James Earl Jones

Sometimes a book is special to you, even before you crack the cover.

Somehow, without even knowing what the story's about, you know it's going to touch you. I said to my daughters, before we started this particular read-aloud, “This one's going to break my heart.”

It did.

This is the debut novel of a Tennessee native, Vince Vawter, a man who had a 40 year career in the newspaper business (remember
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I will preface my review with the fact that the author is my first cousin. As the story is semi-autobiographical, it was a real eye-opener to me to read of the struggles that he went through with his stuttering. He was just one of my cousins, who just happened to stutter. We treated him the same as all of our cousins. He was the oldest of the cousins, so he was basically the leader of our family pack. That being said, I loved the book. The story takes place during our childhood, which was in the ...more
Barb Middleton
Writing for me is like stuttering for Victor. Most of the time I feel lonely and isolated and I'm trying every trick I can to spit out the right words. And I mean spit. The words splatter, sputter, and stutter in a  nonsensical way all over the page. The random mishmash starts to take shape after multiple rewrites that usually leaves me frustrated, vulnerable, and exhausted when finished. Writing is difficult for me because it requires focus and my ADHD tendencies get in the way. Exercise is the ...more
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was a little skeptical going into this book. It seems that the new "hit" genre in kid-lit is writing the main character with a disability. The first book I read from this trend is Wonder. Then I read Out of My Mind now Paperboy and Counting by 7's is on my to-read list. Some of these books have been great, all of them have gotten high praise and great reviews. I think one of my biggest complaints with these books (not just disability books) but any book that seems to jump on the bandwagon is t ...more
Aug 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
"Mr. Spiro smiled another new kind of smile.
Tis rude of me to go out of the country but it's a favorite quote of mine that rings more true in the original French. It translates: Speech was given to man to disguise his thoughts." (PG. 63)

"Martin Heidegger. A German philosopher who is still very much with us. He helps us understand existentialism. Something you may want to look at later on in your voyage. Existentialism simply means a person exists as a being because that person alone gives mean
Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Saw this at the library. My dad was a paperboy when he was a kid, and I have fond memories of his stories about peddling papers, so I picked it up and cracked it open. The flap said that the paperboy of the title was a stutterer. My uncle stuttered like hell, all his life. My dad sometimes does, even now. 3 seconds in, I knew I couldn't not read this book.

Our hero (who can't really say his own name but he can say his nickname, Little Man) is not A Kid With A Stammer. He's a kid who plays baseba
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an exceptional Newberry Award winner about a young boy who stutters and the challenges he faces. The story centers around a summer where Little Man substitutes on a paper route while a friend is on a month-long visit to a farm. It is an eventful month for Little Man as he makes new friends and builds confidence. This summer truly changed his life.

I won't soon forget this novel as I loved the characters - especially Little Man, Mr. Spiro, and Mam.
There are many lessons to be learned fro
Luisa Knight

Children's Bad Words
Mild Obscenities & Substitutions - 10 Incidents: stupid, h*ll
Name Calling - 13 Incidents: snake, retard, b*tch (several times), colored, *ss, skinny-*ss, stuttering poet, stuttering dummy, n*gg*r (implied), old woman,
Scatological Terms - 3 Incidents: bl**dy (as in lots of blood)
Religious Profanity - 2 Incidents: Law me (Lord)

Religious & Supernatural - 8 Incidents: There’s a man who makes a living by telling the future. A boy is upset that God made him have trouble
Elaine Mullane || At Home in Books
I first read this book six or seven years ago and I have yet to meet someone here in Ireland who has also read it. However, when I posted about this on my Instagram account recently, the author commented that it continues to be read in schools across America, which I am delighted to hear. Paperboy is the debut novel by Vince Vawter and is an unforgettable story about an unforgettable 11-year-old boy living in Memphis in the late 1950s.

Our protagonist throws an amazing fastball but he can barely
Colby Sharp
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Excited that Vince is going to be on Nerdy Book Club in May. This book really opened my eyes to the life of a child that stutters.
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Fiction, or nonfiction? Paperboy, Vince Vawter's debut novel, certainly has elements of both. Set in 1959 Memphis, Tennessee, the story is that of an eleven-year-old struggling to express himself in a world that often disregards him because of his severe stutter. His speech therapist has suggested a few simple tricks to overcome the mental blockage when he stutters, but the boy has tried to limit his exposure to strangers; that is, until the summer he agrees to take over his friend Rat's paper r ...more
The Reading Countess
Beautifully written by a first-time author/retired newspaper man who stutters, Vince Vawter knows much about what he writes. You see, he grew up in the segregated South (Memphis, specifically). A lover of words, much like "Little Man", the main character (loved the photo of Vawter at the end of the book with his prized typewriter), the ebb and flow of the written word both confound as well as delight them both.

As a Language Arts teacher, I especially liked the literary and logophile references
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: readin2013
Paperboy had me at hello. I loved, loved, loved, loved, REALLY LOVED this one. Yes, I'm going to gush about how wonderful and just-right this one is.

Paperboy is set in Memphis, Tennessee, in July of 1959. The narrator is a young boy (11, I think?) who stutters. He doesn't want stuttering to define him. He doesn't think that's fair. He is good at many, many things, like baseball. He is GREAT at baseball. He is good at typing, at writing. He loves words. But his stutter keeps him from loving spea
Jan 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book was a chore to get through. I would have quit after a dozen pages of it hadn't of picked up an honor. Will someone please explaining to me the elements of the writing that they find distinguished. Very GCF. ...more
Sana Abdulla
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
A book for children, not my thing.
Do you remember Darth Vadar – specifically the voice of Darth Vadar? Here is a link to a video some of his best quotes. The man behind the voice is James Earl Jones and what you may not know is that he barely spoke for eight years. His stuttering problem was so severe that he chose not to talk, rather than deal with the hardships of stuttering. The book Paperboy is set in Memphis in 1959, and 11 year old Victor, has a similar problem to James Earl Jones.
Once I started Paperboy, I couldn’t put it
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jaime by: Todd Fife
Shelves: audio-book
I absolutely loved this book. It has a To Kill A Mockingbird feel, without being a ripoff. It's genuine and beautiful. I guessed early on that it's based on the author's own childhood. When the paperboy was talking about his name and not being able to say it, it clued me in. I like knowing that it was his own heart that he was pouring out for the readers. I would have voted for this to get the Newberry and not just an Honor book. It's that good. ...more
Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jfic, boy-friendly
Do I love this book because I grew up in the same time period, because I was a speech pathologist, because I am familiar with the deadly hot summer days of Memphis, or because I admire the gentle souls of the characters who shaped the life of an 11 year old boy learning to be an adult? Hard to say, but Little Man tells his story flawlessly.
Anna Olswanger
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Paperboy  is the story of a boy with a debilitating stutter forced to find ways to communicate—against a backdrop of racial bigotry in the summer of 1959 in Memphis. When the 13-year-old stutterer, who can't say his own name, takes over his best friend's newspaper route for a month, he encounters a fleet of life-spinning characters: an alcoholic housewife who attempts to seduce him, a junkman who steals from him, and a kindly Merchant Marine who seems to have all the answers to the boy's unen ...more
May 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Oh Newbery, I'll never understand you. I just checked and I have to go clear back to 1997 to find a Newbery winner or honor book that I really LOVED ( Belle Prater's Boy ) . I haven't read them all, by any means, but the ones I have read have been kind of blah. This one was good, but I didn't find anything outstanding about it. It felt like it was trying to be too many things. A book about a child with a disability. A book about sports (although that was hardly mentioned - just that the main ch ...more
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had never heard of this book, but I found it on a library sale and saw that it had a Newbery Honor, so of course I had to "rescue" it and read it!

What a great book! How did this slip my notice? Once I got started I thought about reading it aloud to my kids, but the style it was written in (short paragraphs ostensibly typed by the main character) made the dialogue a bit confusing. I think it's better to read it for yourself. A few times I had to go back and restart the conversations to figure
Apr 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It was very mature and to understand it you had to comprehend well.

Summary (
This is a coming of age story that takes place in Memphis in the sixties. The book opens with the main character telling us about himself and his life as a stutterer. Speaking is, at best, a chore, and sometimes all but impossible. Because of his speech problems, few people can - or bother to - understand him. One such person is "Mam", the black maid who came to live with the family when he was five, and the other is his best friend "Rat".
But the big challenge comes during t
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Somehow, though there's hardly a page that goes by that doesn't have stuttering as the focus, our young hero is so much more than his challenge. A reader is given a chance to feel like she knows him. Like she knows him better than his parents do... their role is very minor, but at the same time they're loving; it's weird....

Anyway, I was not surprised to see that Vawter was inspired by his own childhood. Even though I didn't get all the cultural references, the period in history came alive for m
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am so so glad that his book hit the BATTLE OF THE BOOKS list for Wisconsin or I may not have heard about it. I listened to the audio read by Lincoln Hoppe and his performance was stellar. I did not want this book to end. While gentle in its approach, it was captivating and thought provoking. Even when probing issues such as race and violence, there was an underlying note of sensitivity and pragmatism that left me (the reader) hopeful and contented.
The book is a coming of age story about a boy
I spent the last week listening to this book on my commute and it is FANTASTIC. All the characters are richly drawn, have their own nuances and individualism and I love the way Little Man interacts with them all on his paper route. I especially liked the narration of this, the reader does such a great job of doing everyone's voices and the the way he does Little Man's stutters anytime he speaks is so well done, I can imagine him really saying it as I listen along. The moments when Little Man hel ...more
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
First off, major kudos to Vawter for writing a phenomenal book for young male readers. There aren't many out there, and this one sets a gold standard. That being said, this is a great book for all readers. I had a hard time putting it down, and have thought back to it frequently; a true mark of a five-star book. There were so many things I loved about this book, but here are just a few:
1. Little Man. Watching him grow up over the summer incited a parental pride in the young man he was turning in
Alex  Baugh
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: randomly-reading
It is the summer of 1959 in Memphis, Tennessee and 11 year old Little Man, as his Mam, the housekeeper, calls him, has agreed to take over his best friend's paper route for a month while he visits his grandparent's farm. Taking over the paper route is going to be hard for Little Man because it means he has to speak to people, strangers, and what makes that hard is that he has a serious stutter. What makes it easy for him, however, is that he has a serious pitching arm for tossing papers onto por ...more
Paperboy by Vince Vawter tells of an 11 year old boy who takes over his best friend's newspapr route in July, 1959, in Memphis, and how his debilitating stutter makes for a memorable month.

While throwing papers is easy for a terrific pitcher, Victor worries about communicating with customers while collecting the weekly payment because of his terrible stuttering problem. Victor can't say a sentence or even his own name without stuttering. He really loves words, but just can't say them easily. Whi
Margaret Henderson
Apr 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 6th-grade, book-talk
Although I enjoyed this novel, I do not think that it is written for children. Victor is a young boy with a stuttering problem. Throughout the novel he has to overcome a series obstacles and he does this by getting close to two older characters Mr. Spiro and Mrs. Worthington. I loved his relationship with Mr. Spiro. Mr. Spiro could get the boy to come out of his and he is one of the few people that the boy can actually have a conversation with. Mrs. Worthington is a strikingly beautiful woman th ...more
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Halle Williams- Review 7 1 1 Apr 17, 2020 09:17PM  
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Vince Vawter is the author of PAPERBOY, a 2014 Newbery Honor book, and COPYBOY, a sequel published Aug. 1, 2018. He lives with his wife near the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee on a small farm. Vawter spent 40 years in the newspaper business before retiring to write books.

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