Paperboy (August book club)


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 much and a retired merchant marine who seems to know just about everything.

The newspaper route poses challenges, but it’s a run-in with the neighborhood junkman, a bully and thief, that stirs up real trouble–and puts the boy’s life, as well as that of his family’s devoted housekeeper, in danger.

Ah, so many great things to talk (or think or write) about this month!

“Words in the air blow away as soon as you say them, but words on paper last forever” 
“Why do people who can talk right waste so many words saying nothing?” 
“Victor: But fiction is a story and nonfiction is the truth.
Mr. Spiro: And I reply that you are referring merely to the rule of law. I contend that one is likely to find more truth in fiction. A good painting after all is more truthful than a photograph. Remember that, Young Messenger, for all your days.”
“Speech was given to man to disguise his thoughts.”


And, talk we did on a beautiful lawn overlooking Lake Michigan in mid-August with the sun setting behind us. How did Vince change at the end of the book? Who was Mr Spiro?What did Mr Spiro’s 4 words mean? Where Victor’s parents good or bad or in between? What strategies can help someone who stutters? How do characters in the book deal with their frustrations? What does Victor learn from Mam? If there was a sequel to the book, what would happen?

But, we did more than just talk. We also folded up newspapers just like Vince and Rat would have for their paper route.

We ate book-themed food (always a favorite part!).

And, we played and laughed and enjoyed each other’s company.

Wish Victor could have joined us. I think he’d be friends with our boys. And, that’s the truth.

Thanks Sara and Will for hosting such a lovely book club! Already looking forward to next summer’s meeting at your place!


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