Growing Up in Rural America During the Unrest of the Sixties
The decade of the sixties brought about unrest and change as opposition to the U. S. involvement in the Vietnam War escalated. Even the small towns across rural America felt the impact brought about by racial tension, public demonstrations, and societal challenges.
Paper Boy tells the story as seen through the eyes of young Tommy as he delivers papers to the homes and businesses of Colby, Missouri during one critical year. Tommy got the first glimpse of the daily headlines and picked up the local news (town gossip) firsthand all along the route.
Stan Crader has a keen gift of observation and storytelling. His writing captures the unique flavor and nature of growing up in a small town in rural America. Crader’s dominant characters move the story along at a unique slower pace, representative of his characters, the era and small town setting of the locale, while creating a compelling story line that kept me eagerly reading as I did not want to miss one word of the growing sense of intrigue, mystery, and suspense.
Paper Boy is a character driven novel. I However, Crader uses of a balance of event structure and has a good understanding of the power exerted by his dominant characters. He has a gift for skillfully developing well-crafted colorful descriptions of every person introduced.
I enjoyed Crader’s creative dialog filled with juvenile “playground barbs” and the way this adds realism to the character of the protagonist and his friends. I especially appreciated his imaginative dialog and descriptive word pictures of the action during the combined football practice among the sixth graders who are thrown together with the junior high team. Another fun filled incident described Colby’s marching band and the playful humor used in the conversation between Tommy and his budding romantic interest, Melody.
Paper Boy will be enjoyed by aficionados of Americana, coming of age stories, and memoirs. It will also appeal to anyone growing up during the sixties, as well as young adult readers of an emerging generation. This is a book that should be in school libraries, it is rich in examples of the core values of love for country, compassion, responsibility, perseverance, and faith.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.