- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (24 November 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007449232
- ISBN-13: 978-0007449231
- Product Dimensions: 0.1 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 209 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 222,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Paperboy: An Enchanting True Story of a Belfast Paperboy Coming to Terms with the Troubles Paperback – 3 Sep 2013
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‘A wholly delightful book’ Irish Independent
‘An enchantingly-written story of a young boy coming to terms with the world around him; a very readable romp that will appeal to nostalgic and curious readers alike.’ Verbal Magazine
About the Author
Tony Macaulay grew up in the 1970s at the top of the Shankill Road in Belfast, an experience that has shaped his life and inspired his writing. Following a successful career as a paperboy, he has gone on to spend over 25 years working for peace and reconciliation both in Northern Ireland and abroad. He is Managing Director of Macaulay Associates, specialising in community development and conflict resolution. Tony is also a writer and broadcaster and has been a regular contributor to BBC Radio Ulster for 10 years. He lives in Portstewart with his wife, Lesley, and their two daughters.
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My knowledge of the religious atmosphere in Northern Ireland prior to reading Paperboy was limited and a bit biased because of my aforementioned friend who was Catholic. My name was always "goddamn Proddy" when he was drunk (in the most loving way), and that should tell you something about the stories that he told. Paperboy gave an interesting contrast to those as Tony in the majority being a Protestant, but he was a bit put down at the Belfast Royal Academy (BRA) for being working class and from a bad neighborhood. However, none of that really has much to do with the book except for serving as a backdrop. Things were terrible, people were awful to one another, and the streets were tough. Tony shows us in Paperboy that despite all of this, he had a happy, mostly carefree adolescence and experience as a "pacifist paperboy".
It was refreshing to read about a normal child having a happy time in the face of the dystopic gloom and doom that is so popular in literature right now, and Northern Ireland during that point in history was terrifying. My friend's brother-in-law watched his father get blown up in his car in front of their house as a child there, and Paperboy is a stark contrast to those horrors. Tony's story is a funny one, with tales of juvenile mishaps. (Never put Brut on your jimmy joe.) There is a lot of talk about Doctor Who, Top of the Pops, and the Bay City Rollers. It's good to have a book sometimes that reminds us that people are going to be people in the face of awfulness, and humanity does its very best to lead the most normal life possible.
My only hangups with the book are the chronology skips around some, and there is a little drag in the pace from time to time. Other than that, I found the book to be an enjoyable read.
If anything relating to (Northern) Ireland and history is your cup of tea, I recommend Paperboy. Readers of memoirs will also enjoy reading about Tony Macaulay's antics growing up. Though memoirs generally aren't my favorite form of non-fiction, I was pleased, and I will be on the lookout for more books by Macaulay.