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The Paul Street Boys

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  10,061 ratings  ·  348 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.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published 1998 by Corvina (first published 1906)
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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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Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,061 ratings  ·  348 reviews

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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.
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, and
Onur B
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story is starting with the first excitement of children in the Pal street's land. The others are making counter attack them and children are implementing Boka's perfect battle plan. And of course Nemecsek's braveness and heroism. Very nice story.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
Aimee Cheree
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fucking phenomenal!!!!!!!!! ...more
Rebeka Várnagy
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I could give this one a hundred stars I would
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 teenager years as well. It has been about 30 years since then and it was such a great surprise when I was ...more
lucia ★
Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anybody
Recommended to lucia ★ by: Teacher
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.
Ferenc Csizovszky
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.

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.
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.
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...
Ahmet Ceylan
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
one of the best book in my life.
Nolan Alber
The Paul Street Boys is a Hungarian classic. First published in 1907, it tells a coming-of-age story about boys fighting over a piece of land, which is left untranslated and referred to simply as the grund, in 20th century Budapest.

I have heard from a few different Hungarian friends that Molnár's book is a fascinating piece of children's literature. From my own experience, it seems like the Hungarian equivalent to the US's The Outsiders (or, of course, as the former came first, Hinton's book is
Tamás Benesóczky
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 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 ...more
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
If someone came to me and asked me "what is this book about?" I'd have a straight answer: disillusionment.

I started this book with no great expectations for it but in the end, it was a pleasant and really enjoyable read. I'm a late reader of this book, being 20 years old myself, but still it reached my inner child. I loved the Grund factor. The presence of something stable to have your life built on.
These little boys, with their big, big, big hearts had me really sympathize with them and with
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: hungary
This book is a Hungarian classic, and I read it mainly as part of my acquaintance with the Hungarian culture. It is intended for kids, so I cannot rate it higher. However, I still found it interesting to read: Ferenc Molnar's astute observations about the kids' behavior made me chuckle. Without spoilers, I can say that I am not very pleased with how the plot went. This is precisely the type of literature that inspired millions of schoolkids at the dawn of the XX century to go fight and die at ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
HRV: Ponekad zaboravim koliko sam stvarno dobrih knjiga imala prilike pročitati kao dijete, ali kada se sjetim uvijek sam iznimno zahvalna. Ovo je jedna od tih knjiga. Nasmijala me, rasplakala, a više od svega - navela me da se još više zaljubim u knjiženost.

ENG: Sometimes I forget how many truly great books I had the pleasure of reading as a kid, but when I remember I am incredibly grateful. This is one of those books. It made me laugh, it made me cry, but most of all - it made me fall even
Anna Davidson
Written in 1906 and set in 1889 in Budapest, this classic Hungarian children’s story is a fantastic tale of friendship and childhood adventure, albeit with a tragic ending. Reading this, I could imagine my grandfather loving The Paul Street Boys as a young fellow living in the Hungarian countryside.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A special, beautifully written book for children and children at heart. It does a great job evoking nostalgy for one's childhood and for Austro-Hungarian empire. Lovely humor and drama go hand by hand, just like in life. It was a pleasure to re-read it as an adult.
Aida Schwartz
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh how I loved this book. I had totally forgotten about it until last night something brought it to my mind. May be it was the memories of a childhood spent playing outside all the time... Highly recommended.
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.
Giulia Spritz
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really exciting, touching, metaphorical and true. Such a simple story, yet applicable throughout life, which shows leadership, courage, fear, in the pure and intense way only children experience.
I live in Budapest, and now walking along Pál utca and Mária utca has a different feeling :)
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Childhood favorite? 3 30 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.
“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 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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