Catherine Ryan Hyde’s international sensation, Pay It Forward, is the moving story of Trevor McKinney, a 12-year-old boy who accepts his social studies teacher’s challenge to come up with a plan to change the world.
Trevor’s idea is simple: Do a good deed for three people and ask them to "pay it forward" to three others who need help. He envisions a vast movement of kindness and goodwill spreading beyond his small California town and across the world.
However, when Jerry, a bum to whom Trevor gave his allowance, returns to a life of dissolution, the project seems valuable only as a lesson on the dark side of human nature. But ultimately Trevor is vindicated. At first people don’t know how to explain the odd dip in crime rates across the nation, but a journalist with a story of his own tracks down the source of the epidemic of random acts of kindness and makes Trevor a celebrity.
Yet Trevor has problems closer to home: He wants his pretty, hardworking mother to see the softer side of his beloved teacher, Reuben St. Clair, a scarred Vietnam veteran who seems to come alive only when he’s in front of his class.
Anyone who has ever despaired of one person’s ability to effect change will rejoice in Trevor’s courage and his determination to see the good in everyone.
"Powerful...with believable dialoque and shadings that make the characters seem more lifelike than they have any right to be." (Chicago Tribune)
"A good read and an inspiring novel; fascinating in its implications. Catherine Ryan Hyde joyfully delivered me from 'if only' to 'what if?' to 'why not?'" (Richard Paul Evans, author of The Christmas Box)
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Touching and Wonderful
Innocence, Beauty, Tragic
The only book that comes to mind is "Defending Jacob" by William Landay. The stories are in no way similar. The comparison comes to mind because to some extent you are expecting a happy ending, and well, though there is some joy in Trevor's accomplishments, the ending cannot be said to be happy. In fact I think it is the tragedy at the end that makes me select "Defending Jacob."
I have not listened to any other narrations by William Dufris, but I will say this, you hear every character as a separate voice. He is excellent at drawing the pauses where they should be so that the reader can take a breath with him. He is beyond excellent.
Where Wonder Begins
So I saw this movie years ago. The book as so often is the case, far outstripped the movie. Things that took me by surprise included:
1. This book literally had me bust out laughing on more than one occasion. It was fantastic to have such sarcasm and wit mixed into a story I would consider a drama.
2. I didn't remember things from the movie that were present in the book, like the enormity of the project, how it had taken on a life of it's own, that by the narrator's introduction tells you has changed the world as we know it.
3. I do not remember Trevor meeting Bill Clinton in the movie. That was a fabulous addition to the story.
This book was such a great story because it is the ideal of what we could be if we as a society chose it. The ending is sad, but I would still strongly recommend this book for any audience 13 and up. It may not be appropriate for a younger audience because there are some items a parent would not want to have to explain. One example, to illustrate, includes a transsexual who experiences a great deal of violence.
If you have seen the movie, definitely get the book. It's worth every minute.