Author: Vince Vawter
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Basic plot: A coming-of-age story about an 11-year-old boy who takes his friend’s paper route for a month in the summer. His greatest struggle: overcoming a debilitating stutter.
1) I’m usually a stickler for proper grammar. This book does not use quotation marks for dialogue and very little commas. This would normally drive me nuts! But in the case of this book, I am fine with it. It’s all part of the characterization of the protagonist.
2) The stutter. I thought Vawter dealt well with the boy’s struggle regarding his debilitating stutter. The story made me completely empathize with him… How he can’t even say his best friend’s name (Art) and calls him “Rat” instead. However, this changes by the end of the book as the boy starts to push himself to overcome.
3) I loved the relationship between the boy and his Mam. She was wonderful!
4) Ditto for Mr. Spiro… How he treats the boy like a real person and helps him gain confidence. (And all those books in Mr. Spiro’s house? A dream come true!)
5) I liked the fact that we don’t get the boy’s name until the end of the story. Again, because of plot reasons.
WHAT’S NOT COOL…
1) When I was reading it, I wasn’t sure what time period this was. Did I miss something? (Of course, looking back at the book jacket, I realize that it says it takes place in 1959. But I don’t always read the book jacket prior to reading the story. Mainly due to the fact that I want to avoid spoilers.)
2) I was a little uncomfortable with the character of Mrs. Worthington. **SPOILER She’s an alcoholic, painted with a lot of sexual overtones. I felt this was a little too heavy for this age group. And I wasn’t sure what she would do to the protagonist. (Nothing really bad happens, which is good. She’s played more like a victim than anything else.) END SPOILER
My rating is 4.5 Stars (out of 5) – I loved this book! While I never stuttered quite so badly as the boy in this book, I did have a little stutter as a young child. So, I definitely related to the attempts and struggle of working through getting those words out.