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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 21 July 2003
Pay it Forward (recently made into an inferior film) is wonderful and original novel about a less than ordinary boy changing the world for the better. Twelve-year-old Trevor lives with his poor, divorced mother, he has a hard life in which he is almost forced to act grown-up. When a new teacher starts at his school and gives the class a project to come up with an idea that will make the world a better place, Trevor is extremely enthusiastic. He comes up with this idea: do a good deed for three people and then ask them to do a good deed to three people, thus as the chain grows, it ultimately leads to a friendlier place and populace all round. Unfortunately, not everybody is trustworthy and honest.
I really enjoyed his touching novel: the author really makes the idea come to life, as the diverse characters are completely realistic and the plot complex and layered. Many different stories are going on at once, but they all merge into a single idea. This book should be read by all, although it may not change our way of life, but it will give us all hope.
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on 15 December 2006
I first read this book a few years ago - a chance purchase before going on holiday. The premise sounded interesting - a young school boy with a plan to change the world in a very real way by carrying out three considerable good deeds. The philosophy behind his idea - that you have to 'pay the favour forward' to three more people.

This occurs in the background - the main characters almost oblivious to the effects of his projetc until close to the end. Iin the meantime, the story involves an exploration into many facets of the human condition; families, racism, selflessness, unconditional love, the break-up of the family unit..

I defy anyone to read this book and not be touched by the ending. I finished it in two sittings (and got sub-burnt as a result!!) and I can honestly say the sunburn was worth it.

It is one of those books whose philosophy, characters and impact will last for your lifetime. Oh i and I would give the film 3/5 as it really fails to invoke the emotional response of the book.

A must buy!
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on 9 September 2001
All I wanted to do after finishing this book was phone someone and talk to them about it. I was in a daze and thought that I must do something, talk to someone, anyone!! I only bought the book to see what it was like before I saw the film. It is so easy to read,as it is in small chapters, which is brilliant for a mum like me, but I couldn't put the thing down. I very rarely cry at books but this had my sobbing and smiling at the same time. As you are reading it feels so real, as if you are looking at something that has really happened. It draws you in and won't let you go. Can it be so easy to change the world, but i speak like all the adults in the story who believe that human nature would not let it happen. But how do we know until we try. I have recommended that everyone i know read it and I feel that it should be used in schools to make children think about their actions. All I can say is FANTASTIC.
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on 22 October 2001
I bought this book because I fell in love with the beautiful cover, but I very quickly fell in love with the story too. It is a very well written book which draws you in from page one. I love the concept of the story and truly do believe also that it could work, it has changed my life and I may be naive but I believe that it could also change the world. I am starting Pay It Forward in my corner of the world and I hope others have been inspired to too. When I fell in love recently I wanted to give him a present that expressed how much I felt for him, I gave him my own copy of this book with a message in the front... and I guess this is a good indication of how well matched we are (but also an indication of how great the book is), he couldnt put it down, loved it and has also started Pay It Forward.
I cant recommend this book enough.
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on 30 November 2000
Have you ever dreamed of changing the world? Have you ever tried? Too hard? All you need is kindness and a firm belief in the kindness of others. It sounds naïve, I know, but it is true.
Trevor McKinny is 12 when his new social studies teacher offers him a special assignment: come up with a plan to change the world for the better, and do it. His plan is so simple and so direct that it works.
Reading 'Pay it forward' was an exillerating experience. It filled me with hope and happiness. I warmly recommend this book to all the people around the world who refuse to think we are doomed and bound to do evil only.
Read this book and pay it forward.
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on 18 March 2001
12 year old Trevor doesn't know that his school assignment has worked, all he can see is failure. Still, something has happened & the idea he thought up has caught on & people are changing.<
While I don't consider myself an Old Grump, I was skeptical about Trevor's idea until I tried it out for myself. My, my! Suddenly there are all sorts of interesting repercussions.
There's a video of a country song that promotes just such an idea as Trevor's & I've always enjoyed the song. Doing good for others is a sappy thing, requiring only that the doer feel good about the doing. That's a subtle side-effect Trevor has to find out. While Pay It Forward is similar to Random Acts of Kindness, because of its exponential potential, Pay It Forward can snowball its way around the globe & it does.
This is the best of reads containing both a healthy dose of humor & tragedy, failure & success. A nifty idea presented in an absorbing way. Made me think a lot, ponder on the philosophy of doing good, making a difference in my lifetime.
A good read, sometimes as predictable as a farmer's almanac & sometimes breathtakingly simple. Highly recommended! Do check out my site for my full review.
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on 29 May 2014
Unfortunately, I saw the movie before I read the book so I had a lot of preconceived ideas about what this 'should' be like. I found myself comparing the two constantly when I first started reading. I really had to work hard to put aside these thoughts so that I could appreciate the book for what it was.

This is a very powerful, moving story. At first I found the style a bit difficult to read as it kept jumping around to different view points. Every time the perspective changed, it almost 'jolted' me out of the story and it took me a while to get back into it. After a while, I got used to it, but I have deducted one star for this reason.

The idea behind the story is beautiful and very inspiring. It is such a powerful idea that one person, one child can change the world. It also shows how inspiring teachers can be and how much influence they have over the children in their care. I won't go into detail about the plot as other reviewers have done that already but I will say that this book made me cry! This is a very thought provoking book and gives hope that one day the world can be a better place if we all do our part to help others.
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on 13 May 2013
I thought I'd give this book ago, since the film is apparently quite good. I can't say I really cared for it though. I thought it was a bit too simplistic and the continual shifting between viewpoints (different sections are written as from the point of view of different characters) was a bit annoying. Not my cup of tea.
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VINE VOICEon 4 January 2008
This is an amazing book which is probably written for teenagers. The plot is so stunningly simple. I saw the film and it was rubbish and in no way captured the theme of the book. I can understand that readers of fine literature would find it beneath them but I absolutely loved it and thoroughly recommend this beautiful book. One of the best books I've read and I've read rather a lot of books in my time.
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on 23 October 2014
Beautiful story written in Catherine Ryan Hyde's usual wonderful prose. Her books are consistently brilliant and this is up there with her best. The story is inspirational and heartfelt and leaves the reader breathless and weeping with the sheer love of, and regret at the loss of, innocence, morality, kindness and love that is shown by the little boy. Life could be (and should be) the way he intended and humanity is the worse for not following such a simple creed. Magnificent. I loved every page of this gorgeous book.
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