Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: Paperboy by Tony Macaulay

Title: Paperboy: An Enchanting True Story of a Belfast Paperboy Coming to Terms with the Troubles
Author: Tony Macaulay
Format: Paperback
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish Date: September 3, 2013
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a memoir fan.
What's the Story?:

From "It’s Belfast, 1975. The city lies under the dark cloud of the Troubles, and hatred fills the air like smoke. But Tony Macaulay has just turned twelve and he’s got a new job. He’s going to be a paperboy. And come rain or shine – or bombs and mortar – he will deliver…

Paperboy lives in Upper Shankill, Belfast, in the heart of the conflict between Loyalists and Republicans. Bombings are on the evening news, rubble lies where buildings once stood, and rumours spread like wildfire about the IRA and the UDA.

But Paperboy lives in a world of Doctor Who, Top of the Pops and fish suppers. His battles are fought with all the passion of Ireland’s opposing sides – but against acne, the dentist and the ‘wee hoods’ who rob his paper money. On his rounds he hums songs by the Bay City Rollers, dreams about outer space and dreams even more about the beautiful Sharon Burgess.

In this touching, funny and nostalgic memoir, Tony Macaulay recounts his days growing up in Belfast during the Troubles, the harrowing years which saw neighbour fighting neighbour and brother fighting brother. But in the midst of all this turmoil, Paperboy, a scrappy upstart with a wicked sense of humour and sky-high dreams, dutifully goes about his paper round. He is a good paperboy, so he is.

Paperboy proves that happiness can be found even in the darkest of times; it is a story that will charm your socks off, make you laugh out loud and brings to life the culture, stories and colourful characters of a very different – but very familiar – time.

My Two Cents:

"Paperboy" is the memoir of Tony Macaulay, a young boy who takes on a job as a paperboy in Belfast during the 1970s. If you know your history, you may recognize that the mid to late 1970s were the setting for the so-called "Troubles" in Northern Ireland, a tumultuous time to say the least. Tony is old enough to realize what is going on around him but is still busy growing up. Even in the face of really horrible things, Macaulay maintains his humor!

I love memoirs so much. I always think it's really cool to be able to walk in someone else's shoes. I knew about the Troubles from a historical perspective but I don't believe that I've read anything about the Troubles other than straight history books on the matter so I found this memoir really refreshing.

Even though this book takes place during a very serious time, Tony is still a kid so this book is filled with some of his funny 12-year-old antics. Some parts of this book made me laugh out loud. It was a good reminder that even when bad things are going on around you, there are still ways to make life a little bit more normal.

I liked the writing in this book. You do need to know a little bit about the Troubles in order to understand some of the things that happen in the book.  


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