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Publisher's Summary

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.

©1999 Catherine Ryan Hyde (P)2012 Simon & Schuster Audio

Critic Reviews

"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)

What listeners say about Pay It Forward

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If only ...

I loved this story. A vision for all of us - I just wish it could be true.

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  • Maggie
  • 26-04-2016

I haven't read a book by this author I didn't like

The book is almost always better than the movie and this one is no exception. So many details and dialogue that film just cannot capture. After reading this book, I downloaded several additional titles by Catherine Ryan Hyde - loved them all.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Jerrilynn
  • 16-02-2016

Touching and Wonderful

If you could sum up Pay It Forward in three words, what would they be?

Innocence, Beauty, Tragic

What other book might you compare Pay It Forward to and why?

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."

Have you listened to any of William Dufris’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

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.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Where Wonder Begins

Any additional comments?

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.

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  • Dotty
  • 20-11-2012

Not at all trite

A better-than-you-think it will be book. Uplifting, and goodness knows we can all use some of that these days.

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  • ki
  • 20-03-2015

realism

was very read able ans realistic. can't miss a thing or will miss you. try it ..

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  • Nancy Cohen-Vardy
  • 04-07-2019

Difficult to listen to the narrator

The book was a bit difficult to follow since it tracked several different stories and introduced many different characters during the course of the story. Two things bothered me about this book: First, it became too much of a fairytale three quarters of the way into the book and it became saturated with sugar. Too pat, too unbelievable and too "Hallmarky". Second, and more disturbing to me was the narrator who made all of the women characters sound like he was "putting on a mocking women's voice" for entertainment. I had a hard time making myself listen to the entire book because his women's voices were so disturbing. The main child's voice "Trevor", although not disturbing to me, it just not very well acted.

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  • psychodr1
  • 13-08-2018

Motivational

Not sure if this is a true story of this movement or made up. But either way, it is inspirational. It shows how one person can make a difference in this world. There have been a few through history but we can all make a difference to those around us. Narration was fine. And the story was enjoyable.

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  • Jodie Thompson
  • 10-08-2018

Emotionally gripping!

I couldnt get enough. a true emotional rollercoaster. imagine a world where people do pay it forward, what an amazing place that would be.

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  • D. Donohue
  • 18-02-2018

I'm speechless

I saw the movie years ago. I thought it was moving and well done. I now know it was nothing compared to what it could have been, what this book is. WOW. Just wow.

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  • Necia
  • 08-08-2020

Accept the challenge.

A book so needed right now. Do you think it could be possible to make it happen?

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  • Pavlo Baker
  • 31-07-2020

Not even close to my favorite CRH novel

It is quite funny that this is the most famous CRH novel, because I would have to say though interesting not anywhere close to her best work. I am so very thankful that this not the first of her novels that I read, because if so I would probably have stopped here. My first CRH novel was; HAVE YOU SEEN LUIS VELEZ? and I can not give that book enough praise. In all fairness to the author Pay It Forward was one of her earlier books, and it is great to know that she is getting better and not worse with time like so many other authors. If you accept this book as an authors maturing exercise it stands up, and gets you excitied for what is to come.

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  • Love audio
  • 23-12-2014

Would love this in practice!

If you could sum up Pay It Forward in three words, what would they be?

Great listen, and a fab concepts...I'd like to start paying it forwards but how?

Who was your favorite character and why?

The teachers...encouragement

Have you listened to any of William Dufris’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Fine

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Already a film

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  • Mrs. K. I. Richards
  • 20-03-2014

book film was based on.

having loved the film I searched for the book. I found it on cd but gave up on it because of all the different narrators reading the parts.
I was so happy to find this version on audible, just one narrator who did a good job of performing the book. his female voices were passable because having a deeper voice it is harder for him to do them.
the only big difference from the film is that the teacher in the book is black.
if you like the film you won't be disappointed by the book. if you haven't seem the film I can recommend the book. good characterisation and plot.

2 people found this helpful

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