PAY IT FORWARD: an inspiring, heartfelt, gritty tribute to human kindness.

Posted: May 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

There is no doubt that we’re living in a world of constant change. A world which seems to be in an eternal race against time. And that race is sometimes so consuming, that we forget what makes us human.

Luckily, there are people like the young protagonist of the novel that I’m about to review, Pay it Forward, by Catherine Ryan Hyde, of which I had the honor to receive a signed copy.

Young Trevor McKinney, a 12-year old, is given an assignment by his social studies teacher, Mr. Reuben St. Clair, a scarred Vietnam veteran. He comes up with the idea of helping three people, who in their turn would have to help other three, and so on. The overall message of the book is simple, yet beautifully profound: if one wants to change the world, they need to start with the world they have.

Trevor is a very likable protagonist. I absolutely loved the parts of the novel which were written as entries from his journal. The author beautifully manages to record the thoughts of her protagonist in authentic, moving prose. While trying to help others, Trevor is in need of help himself, his father having walked out on him and his mother, who struggles with alcoholism. The idea that a person can remain so kind and selfless in a situation like Trevor is in is absolutely remarkable. I think that this novel is one of those rare books that have the power to touch the hearts and minds of their readers. The cast of characters is memorable, from Trevor to Mr. St. Clair, to Chris Chandler, a journalist following the story of the Movement started with Trevor’s project, to his mother, who is kind at heart, but has had her share of bad choices in life, Jerry, a mechanic who’s down on his luck and his father, Ricky, who ultimately realizes the importance of his son’s message, after Trevor sacrifices himself to stop a mugging. That, in my view, is the ultimate example of selflessness, and it was an utterly moving scene, which goes to show that yes, there still are people who genuinely believe that they can change the world. Trevor’s assignment was an extra-credit one, but throughout the novel, he repeatedly states that he helps people because he believes he can change the world. I truly believe that if more people thought like this, the world would be a far, far better place.

I am forever grateful to Ms.Hyde, for sharing this life-changing story with me, for it has truly opened my eyes and heart. I give this gem of a book 10 stars out of 5.

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