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The Paul Street Boys

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  17,393 ratings  ·  802 reviews
The war between two groups of Hungarian boys living in Budapest. One with Hungarian national colours (red, white, green) is defending the square from redshirts (from Garibaldi's redshirts), who want to occupy the square. ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published 1998 by Corvina (first published 1907)
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Tamás Benesóczky There are few books in the world where the writer can summon the child's soul and the world of children in such a realistic and credible way as it did…moreThere are few books in the world where the writer can summon the child's soul and the world of children in such a realistic and credible way as it did in Ferenc Molnár's novel Pál Street Boys. The work takes place around 1885. Honor and Loyalty are the most important values. "This is completely against the most important nowadays value, the Quick Benefit." "Nevertheless, we feel right at home in Molnar's world, (and I am happy about it). - The events follow logically from the character of the child's heroes, but without having to foresee it ... Molnar did not write a children's book, although it is about children and I would recommend it to them. - The world of children is the mapping of the not always understandable world of adults. - "Gitt Society" is a mockery of strange organizations, clubs, and habits of adults. It is so good that the term has become established in the Hungarian language as the name of utterly useless, superfluous organizations. - The novel is the Metaphore of Life - We fight for important, sacred affairs that can be brushed in a moment by the whim of fate and during we could die too...(less)

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Matt Ackerman
May 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the type of book that's for young adults (12-14 years old), but everybody should read it. It has wonderful moments of courage, selfless leadership, and friendship. ...more
Lily S.
Jul 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: hungarian-lit
Have you ever thought that every second you spend with a book is a waste of time and you will never ever get it back? That it's so harmful that it should not be read by children?

Honestly I have no idea why people give 5 or 4 stars for this. And I don't know why responsible adults let children read it.

For me this story symbolized how something with little or no real meaning gets so very important to people that it causes real damage, both physical and emotional. Oh yes I know,it's about a piece
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my formation novels. Maybe the first book that made me cry. A children's book, of course, but not of those carefree books with a happy ending like the ones I had read until then. A story that touches, which leads us to fight alongside the protagonists, who are ready to give their lives for what they consider their most precious treasure. The plot takes place in Budapest, in the early 1900s; this setting already contains all the charm of an adventure, for a provincial boy: who knows where ...more
Jeannette Nikolova
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Also available on the WondrousBooks blog.

I think that my age is above the target group of this book, but that surely did not stop me from enjoying it. To a certain degree. That is, knowing beforehand that it’s a children’s book, I was a bit shocked by the ending.

However, the style of the author as well as the setting and topic are lovely. The atmosphere is very consuming and the entire book can be finished in one reading, easily.

I was not aware of how old The Paul Street Boys actually is, an
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I try to be frugal with my 5-star ratings, but this one definitely deserved them.

I remember reading this book at a friend's house a long time ago, perhaps 5-6 years ago. My friend and I both loved the book and I remember crying wholeheartedly at the ending, which was the only part I could fully recall when I set about rereading this gem of a novel a few days ago. I had been meaning to read it for quite some time, but I could never remember what the title was. By courtesy of my dear friend Uncle
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story starts with the first excitements of children in the Pal street's land. Some other children make counter attack them and children implement the Boka's perfect battle plan. And of course, Nemecsek's braveness and heroism. It is good book. ...more
Roxana Chirilă
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Paul Street boys are a group of middle school kids who made an empty lot their playground. As they live in Budapest in the early 20th century, there aren't too many other places for them to go. But a rival group from the botanical garden wants to take over their lot, so they'd have a place to play ball (as the gardens don't allow them to do that).

The story, first published in 1907, does so many things right.

1. The Overt Story and Style

The boys might be involved in a 'war' that's childish by
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not crying, you're crying ...more
Witold Banasik
Mar 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It is a must to read the book.
If it is not a real life described in the book you can always become a better human being after reading the wonderful novel by Molnar about the boys playing soldiers in the street of Hungarian city.
Heros are all around us, sometimes boys and girls in the streets, you do not have go to Iraq to be brave. Wisdom and courage of th emain hero of the book is heart-breaking and moving and very ...instructive for teenagers of the global virtual reality society.
I have loved
Mar 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is this the best "youth" book ever ? I don't know, but if it ain't it ought to be. ...more
Og Maciel
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book single-handedly shaped a lot of what happened in my early childhood. Just as the Paul Street Boys formed their "army" to defend their "grund", I too, influenced by the book, formed my own club together with a bunch of schoolmates to "fight" against an "opposing army". I was barely 10-years-old when I read this book and the story stayed with me for much of my childhood and onto my teenage years as well. It has been about 30 years since then and it was such a great surprise when I was ab ...more
Özben Yıldız
Aug 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Breathtaking, perfect...
Lucia ★
Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
My hungarian teacher told me to read this book. I really didn't want to. But I had to. So, reluctantly, I started reading it two days before the deadline. I wanted to hate it, but as I continued reading, to my surprise, I started getting attached to the characters. This book taught me to never say anything bad about a book before I've given it a proper chance. It's a lovely story about friendship and what it means to protect and fight for the things you love. ...more
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It is about the borderline between childhood and adulthood. Sooo bittersweet. I guess, not everyone liked it because of the end of it and how children/almost adults can be offensive and rude among each other. In my opinion it is some kind of little society story with some leftover kindness of a childhood.
An outstanding book for teens about heroic strains, patriotism, life and death.

It is really well-written, exciting, and cheerful until the very end, where the story takes a really depressing turn.

I would recommend it to anyone, who knows what an empty little plot of land means to a bunch of kids, who need a place to play in the city.

Marina Dessotti Cortes
Beautiful book! It made me laugh and it made me cry. It looks like a book for children or young teenagers but it is not. In my opinion brings many thoughts that only an adult can understand. I had an amazing time reading it. Its literary strength is epic!
Gordan Karlic
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read it years ago, when I was a little kid, wanted to see is it as good as I remembered it, conclusion, it is, although it is different.
You don't really look through kids eyes so you cant connect as much as you did.
Ceren Palaz
Jun 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I remember crying while I was reading this book as a child.
Katie Varga
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fist compulsory reading book I actually enjoyed.
Milica DIY
Mar 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first book that made me care about a character's death, and I get less emotionally attached to books than most people. Would absolutely recommend.

P. S: Read for school in fourth grade.
Karolina Koczaj
Nov 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My heart right now 💔. There is no doubt that this book is extremely valuable and worth reading, not because we should imitate those boys' behaviour, but because it makes you think. Where exactly is the line between heroism and irresponsibility? My 11-year old brother will be reading this book, and I honestly hope that he will not try to copy these boys' actions. At the same time I hope that he will learn what is honour, courage, loyalty and friendship. This book shows it perfectly. 4.8 🌟 ...more
I listened to the audiobook with my mum who read it in her youth, about 50 years before.
We both agreed that this book is eternal.
Children have definitely changed: in Molnàr's novel 14-year-olds spend their time playing with marbles, building fortresses and defending them. Today, kids the same age can already get a driver's permit and most definitely have different priorities. I feels like time is moving too fast now. I don’t get the rush and the need to skip our childish years, they are fundame
João Rodrigues
Feb 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Did 1 semester of Erasmus in Hungary, Budapeste. I wanted to read something national, among some of the best rated hungarian books I found this one, i loved it and it was the last piece of the puzzle that was this beautiful chapter of my life. First of all I got to know the culture better, and it's awesome that the adventure took place on the streets that i was crossing. About the book, a wonderful story about a group of boys that put honer, friendship and loyalty over everything, wonderful yet ...more
Aug 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2014
This marvelous book reminded me so much of Capitães da Areia! The story is just as touching, with characters that will make you fall in love and with a story so easy going that if I had a bit more time, I would have read in one sitting.
Should not only be an hungarian classic, but an international classic, in a way that speaks about friends, childhood, war, lost, courage, support, etc…
And, as usual, I cried… Quite a lot.
I read the English translation of this classic story of a "war" between two groups of boys in Budapest. It is a shame that it is not more widely available here in America because I have rarely seen a book that captures boyhood so well. The characters were varied and unique. The plot was tight--a real page-turner. This book definitely deserves a place on the "1001 Children's Books" list. ...more
Attila Benő
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
A compulsory read in elementary school, yet full of violence, hatred and even death. As an adult, I look at this book differently than when I had to read it as a child. Reading it now, I would say it's an okay book. reading it back then, I didn't understand why we had to read it. I still don't understand why children have to read it. It's not for children. ...more
Danielle Gilaberte
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Couldn't put it down.
It's all fun and games until Molnár slaps you in the face with beautifully crafted phrases, on par with some of the finest anti war moments in literature, sharing at times the tone of works such as The Lord of the Flies and even Slaughterhouse V.
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I cry at tne end. So sad! I think it is too sad for a child, but the point that its teching is have an reponsebility for every think what we do,say,take...
Aimee Cheree
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fucking phenomenal!!!!!!!!! 👏🏻🙌🏻🙏🏻
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Childhood favorite? 3 36 Mar 12, 2019 10:13PM  

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Ferenc Molnár (Americanized name: Franz Molnar) was a Hungarian dramatist and novelist. During the World War II he emigrated to the United States to escape the Nazi persecution of Hungarian Jews.

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“Was it good?
Nemecsek fixed his blue eyes on Gereb and replied:
Yes, and quietly added: Much better than to be standing on the bank, laughing at me. I'd rather stay in the water neck-deep until New Year than be hand-in-hand with my friends' enemies. I don't mind having dipped in the water. The other day I fell in there by myself. I saw you then, too, with these strangers on the island. But you fellows can invite me as long as you like, you can flatter me and shower me with presents - yet I won't have a thing to do with you. And if you give me another ducking, if you throw me in the water a hundred times, or even a thousand times, I'll come here tomorrow and the day after just the same. I'll find a hiding place where you won't get me. I'm not afraid of anyone of you. And if you'll come to Paul Street, to take our ground away, we'll be on the spot! And don't you forget that either! I'll show you that with ten of us against your ten, you'll hear a different sort of talk from what I'm giving you now. It was easy enough to get the better of me! The one that's stronger always wins! The Pasztor boys stole my marbles in the Museum Garden because they were stronger. Now I got a ducking because you are stronger! Easy enough when ten are against one! But I don't care! You can even beat me up, if it'll do you good. I could have saved myself from the ducking, but I wouldn't join you. I'd rather be drowned or have my brains knocked out than be a traitor...like....somebody standing over...there....”
“...Basit çocuk ruhunda derinden derine bir şeyler değişiyordu: Hayata dair, hani içinde hepimizin bazen kederli, bazen neşeli köleler olduğumuz hayata dair, bazı gerçekleri kavramaya başladığını hissediyordu.” 2 likes
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