Paperboy

Vince Vawter, Author
Vince Vawter. Delacorte, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-385-74244-3
Reviewed on: 03/18/2013
Release date: 05/14/2013
Open Ebook - 146 pages - 978-0-307-97505-8
Open Ebook - 127 pages - 978-1-299-55805-2
Library Binding - 224 pages - 978-0-375-99058-8
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-986-320-539-5
Compact Disc - 978-0-553-39705-5
Compact Disc - 978-0-8041-6795-6
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-307-93151-1
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The name of debut novelist Vawter’s 11-year-old protagonist, Vincent Vollmer III, doesn’t appear until the very end of this tense, memorable story—Vincent’s stutter prevents him from pronouncing it. Vincent is an excellent listener and a keen observer, and the summer of 1959 presents him with the challenge of taking over a friend’s paper route in segregated Memphis. He engages with several neighborhood customers and characters while on the job, gaining new awareness of varied adult worlds, racial tension, and inequality, as well as getting into some dangerous situations. Vawter draws from his own childhood experience at a time “when modern speech therapy techniques were in their infancy,” he writes in an endnote, calling the story “more memoir than fiction.” The story unfolds as Vincent’s typewritten account of the summer, and inventive syntax is used throughout. Commas and quotation marks are verboten—Vincent isn’t a fan of the former, since he has enough extra pauses in his life already—and extra spaces appear between paragraphs, all subtly highlighting his uneasy relationship with the spoken word. Ages 10–up. Agent: Anna Olswanger, Liza Dawson Associates. (May)
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