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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change

on 9 November 2014
Yes, having grown up in this era, I can tell he really does get it right, and he awakened some great memories for me.
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on 15 March 2013
Poor quality
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on 31 August 2010
Tony Macaulay is a respected professional community relations and youth worker based in Belfast. For example, he has written independently, "A discussion paper proposing a five phase process for the removal of 'peace walls' in Northern Ireland".

This book is his story of being a 12-year-old paperboy, living in the Shankill area of West Belfast. I, too, was a 12-year-old paperboy, but that's where my shared experience starts and ends.

Tony so well tells his story. It is actually difficult for adults to write in the prose of childhood. The retrospective voice is usually readily apparent. But here in Paperboy, you really do see the world from this boy's experiences.

It's a world of not quite comprehending the sectarianism and violence around you, and doing your best to get on with what really matters to most 12-year-old boys -- your mates, your music, and earning some pocket money to spend on your girlfriend.

And just like a youngster, there are key words that regularly reappear in the dialogue -- Sharon Burgess, "the only pacifist paperboy in Belfast", Bay City Rollers, "so I was".

Indeed, Tony writes in the local vernacular so well that the only criticism could be that he didn't include a glossary! This Yank has lived here long enough to not need one for Paperboy (!), and some phrases like, "God love the wee dote" probably pass without translation, but me thinks Tony should provide one for the American edition ("Och, ballicks!"). And/or subtitles when the film comes out!

Amidst all the humour, though, there is the reality of the environment that Paperboy grows up in. He notices more and more "peace walls" -- "... we were brilliant at walls in Belfast -- they were going up everywhere, higher and higher, all around me".

It's actually his dad who says to a neighbour who is demanding an even more walls, "Did you never think that it might be our side that's bein' walled in?"

And 35 years on, we have made little progress on dismantling our walls in Northern Ireland, whether physically or metaphorically. May Paperboy encourage more of us to put more effort into this.
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on 9 June 2010
This is a good book but I'd question the accuracy of some of the things mentioned in it. My wife grew up in the same area, around the same time as the author & she reckons that some of the things mentioned in the book didn't take place exactly as written by the author.
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on 26 April 2010
I grew up in the troubles and this book transported me right back to my childhood.It gives a true potrayal of that time as not everthing was about bombs and bullits we were actually all groing up, with all the same growing pains as the rest of the world.I loved this book Toney,s style of writeing was funny,warm and detailed, you dont need to have growen up in Northern Ireland to enjoy this book just get it and you will see for yourself.............
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on 28 July 2010
Excellent memoir, funny but with a number of poignant moments. A real insight into the life of an ordinary boy in working class Belfast during some of the worst times of the Troubles. If you were a Bay City Rollers fan you will also enjoy the re-telling of their visit to Belfast to play a concert there. For any Northern Irish child of the 70's it brings back memories of long gone things like spangles and snake belts, not to mention the great fashion of the time! Dr who fans get a look in too.
You don't need to know much about Northern Ireland but this book will give you an insight into the humour and stoic nature of the people of Belfast during some very dark days. A very human book - really worth a look.
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