Vince Vawter's coming of age novel is set in Memphis 1959. An eleven year old boy, plagued by a stutter he cannot control, agrees to take over his best friend's paper route for a month. Doing so will mean that he will need to talk to the different customers on the route. Despite the challenges this presents, he takes on this job, knowing that it will put him out of his comfort zone, but ready to confront his stutter head on.
The paper route puts him in contact with a retired marine who is both knowledgeable and wise, a sad housewife who drinks too much, and also the town junk man. The paperboy has been warned about the junk man, having been told by his colored housekeeper to stay away from him. But, when the junkman steals from him, he and his housekeeper put themselves in danger to get back what is his.
I loved this book - the setting, the time period, but especially the eleven year old boy who is willing to put himself out there, forcing himself to talk to strangers who might not understand his speech impediment and think him unintelligent. When I realized this book is loosely autobiographical, I enjoyed it that much more. Vince Vawter's Paperboy is a touching, heartwarming story that I am passing on to my daughter and will be ordering for my school library.