A Journey of Promise-Keeping and Acceptance

Copyboy by Vince Vawter 

In this sequel to the juvenile novel Paperboy, six years have passed and Victor Vollmer is now 17 years old. Some things haven’t changed: Victor still stutters, struggling with his self image; his parents continue to fight; and he hasn’t yet discovered the answer to a secret he stumbled upon years ago.

But much has changed: Victor is no longer a paperboy, but a copyboy for a local newspaper; he owns a car; and his friend, Mr. Spiro, who had positively influenced Victor’s view of himself as a person who stuttered, has died, and Victor promised to fulfill Mr. Spiro’s last request, a promise that entailed a journey to the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Without his parents’ knowledge and with a contact name from someone at the newspaper, Victor sets out in his car from Memphis, Tennessee, determined to honour his promise to Mr. Spiro. As he heads south, he hears rumours of an approaching hurricane.

When Victor arrives in Venice, Louisiana, he meets the Moreau family and is especially drawn to Philomene – called Phil by her family and friends – who is a few years older than he is. Bold, vivacious, and principled, Phil loves the Mississippi River and knows her way around on it.

As Phil sets out with Victor to fulfill Mr. Spiro’s last request, they encounter forces, both natural and human, that almost destroy them, but which they overcome.

In this compassionate, authentic novel for young adults by an author who himself struggled with stuttering, Victor realizes that Mr. Spiro’s request was more than it seemed to be and he learns to accept the voice that was given to him, “not the voice I would have chosen, but one that could serve me well if I would only let it.”   

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