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Paulsen Gary : Tiltawhirl John Paperback – Oct 1990

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; Reprint edition (Oct. 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140343121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140343120
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.9 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,618,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A fifteen-year-old runaway discovers that a carnival's razzle-dazzle doesn't shield him from the cruelties of life. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
It was in the summer when I came onto being sixteen that I ran off and met Tiltawhirl John and learned all about life and sex and what it meant to be a man. Read the first page
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By A Customer on 25 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
Tiltawhirl John is about a fifteen-year-old boy who runs away from home to work on a beet farm. The famer is a bad dude to mess with. He beats his workers, hardly feeds them and makes them work hard for little money, that the workers never get. One day the boy went to the farmer to ask for his money and the farmer beat him badly. When the boy was better, he ran away from the farm, and was picked up by Tiltawhirl John. His life turned around. I didn't like the book because the boy kept talking about the beet farm, all through the story. There wasn't very much action or suspense in the plot.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This book is a gem. 28 Feb. 1999
By E. Green ( - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I was given an copy of this novella, an origional print, over six years ago. Since then, I've read it at least ten times.
This book is marketed as a children's book. It is not, and this perhaps accounts for any negative review it receives. "Tiltawhirl John" begins as the boy, whose name we never learn, is running away from home, avoiding the responsibility of running his uncle's farm. He wants to make a life for himself, to strike it rich. "Tiltawhirl John" is, at the risk of sounding cliched, a coming of age novel.
His idealistic fantasies take him to a beet farm, where he is savagely beaten, and then a carnival, where he is befriended by a family.
Billy, the tough yet tender geek, Wanda, who runs the "saliva pit," and T-John are among the memorable, beautifully written characters in this book. Paulson has the unique ability to quickly draw complex characters, whether they be a young cowboy or a knife wielding, vengeful ex-lover.
Paulson also tells a damn good story. In fact by the end of the book, when you realize that your never again going to hear from Wanda, T-John and Billy, you'll cry. I guarantee it.
In summation, this is a lost classic. This is one of those books that deserves to be in the panthean of American novels, but probably won't be, because of dumb luck.
Mr. Paulson, if you're out there, I salute you. You're novel has influenced me a great deal.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Tiltawhril John 10 May 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have read many other Gray Peulson books before I read this one. I like this book because it was an exciting story of a young boy. The book was told by a thrid persons point of view and it was limited. It was hard for me to put the book down at first, but I put it down advetually. The book is about a teenage boy how wanted to find out what a real life was. He runs away from home, the works on a beet farm. Than runs away from there and meets Tiltwhirl John, Wanda, and Billy. I would recommend this book for a high school aged people and up.
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