Saturday, October 30, 2010

Review #2

  • Title:  Pay it Forward
  • Author:  Catherine Ryan Hyde
  • Percentage:  96%, personally

  • Summary:  (from Publisher's Weekly Review) Twelve-year-old Trevor McKinney, the son of Arlene, a single mom working two jobs, and Ricky, a deadbeat absentee dad, does not seem well-positioned to revolutionize the world. But when Trevor's social studies teacher, Reuben St. Clair, gives the class an extra-credit assignment, challenging his students to design a plan to change society, Trevor decides to start a goodwill chain. To begin, he helps out three people, telling each of them that instead of paying him back, they must "pay it forward" by helping three others. At first, nothing seems to work out as planned, not even Trevor's attempt to bring Arlene and Reuben together. Granted, Trevor's mother and his teacher are an unlikely couple: she is a small, white, attractive, determined but insecure recovering alcoholic; he is an educated black man who lost half his face in Vietnam. But eventually romance does blossom, and unbeknownst to Trevor, his other attempts to help do "pay forward," yielding a chain reaction of newsworthy proportions. Reporter Chris Chandler is the first to chase down the story, and Hyde's narrative is punctuated with excerpts from histories Chandler publishes in later years (Those Who Knew Trevor Speak and The Other Faces Behind the Movement), as well as entries from Trevor's journal. Trevor's ultimate martyrdom, and the extraordinary worldwide success of his project, catapult the drama into the realm of myth, but Hyde's simple prose rarely turns preachy.
  • Format:  The format of the book is rather hard to follow, yet it makes it unique in the sense that I have never read another book like it. The narration switches from chapter to chapter and is constantly introducing new characters. Once you have gotten through the first few sentences you know what is going on, yet I found it a little hard to follow. The format fit the book though because it helped to convey that there were many people affected by Trevor's idea. Though it created some confusion, it was rather fitting.
  • Plot Line:  All in all the story of Trevor and his life was awesome. It definitely kept me wanting to no more and the selflessness of the boy amazed me as I continued to read on. I literally couldn't put it down, but that may have been because it was a story I felt was written precisely to my liking. It intertwined community, respect, romance, innocence, motivation, inspiration, wonder and ideas, and managed to bring that touchy-feely feeling you get when you hear about a remarkable event. To sum up my thoughts, I thought the overall story was great and it had many little twists and turns that were sewn into the story of Trevor's life.
  • Characters:  First off, there is Trevor: innocent, inspired, and passionate about helping others. He is who the story is about, yet the reader does not hear much of him, per say, but more of those who are in some way connected to him. I could tell that he was full of energy and motivation, yet he was average. The only thing that separated him from others was his will to help people and Catherine Ryan Hyde persuades the reader that that is enough. He was a very likeable character who was average but came up with an extra-ordinary idea. Second, there are the people who influence Trevor and who are influenced by Trevor's idea. It would take many paragraphs to describe them all, so in summary, the reader is introduced to many characters who are all there own people who have their own qualities. Their stories are as interesting as any, and I personally enjoyed the contrast of C.R.H.'s story to others because of the many characters that were all in some way related to something bigger than any of them.

  • Ratings:
    • Suspense:  4 stars
    • Vocab and Style:  4 1/2 starts
    • Quality:  4 1/2 stars
    • Attention-Keeping Ability:  5 stars
    • Excitement and Exhilaration:  4 1/2 stars
    • Uniqueness and Originality:  5 stars
    • Overall Rating:  4 3/5 stars

  • Overall:  To conclude, this book was really marvelous and a great inspiring story of how one person can affect so many. I was instantly drawn into Trevor's world and Catherine Ryan Hyde's style was one factor in why I adored reading it so much. I would defnitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys inspirational stories and anyone who is a dreamer. This review doesn't quite possess the magic that the book held for me because I was so into the story that when the tragic ending came, I actually cried. And I almost never cry over books. It is really emotional, but it is definitely something I enjoyed. I think one has to take pleasure in the particular genre of the book to fully love it as I did, but if it sounds intriguing, I would definitely put it on the top of your list of books to read.

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