Friday, August 8, 2014

Literary Tourism - Tennessee

I've never been to Tennessee, but I imagine that it is rather muggy with lush, green plumage and very interesting people.  Am I right?

Paperboy - by Vince Vawter

A junior high age boy with a strong stutter takes on his friend's paper route for the month of July 1959.  Along the way his speech impediment and typical young adolescent behavior get him into some pretty big trouble.  He has the help of his African-American housekeeper, a friendly neighbor he meets delivering his papers and his father.

This book creates a great sense of place.  I planned to read this because it won a Newbery Honor this year and it just happened to work for this project as well.  I love when authors use specific street names.  He described the hot Memphis summer so well.  This perfectly matches what I wanted to see for my project.

Overall though, I did not love the book.  I've been debating on whether to give it two or three stars on Goodreads.  I think I have decided on three.  I liked how intelligent and challenging it was.  Some of the dialogue was pure gold.  But overall, I felt like the book was trying to cover too many issues.  The author was writing this largely as a memoir, but tried to include too many things in too short a story.  The book discusses racism, stuttering, deafness, homelessness, alcoholism, domestic violence, murder and mental illness all in less than 300 pages.

As a librarian, I always think about what child I would recommend this to, and I honestly can't think of anyone I would want to connect with this book.  This makes me sad.

This makes me happy.

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