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Pay It Forward

(2000)
A novel by

 
 
Catherine Ryan Hyde's Pay It Forward takes as its premise the bumper-sticker phrase "Think Globally, Act Locally" and builds a novel around it. The hero of her story is young Trevor McKinney, a 12-year-old whose imagination is sparked by an extra-credit assignment in Social Studies: "Think of an idea for world change, and put it into action." Trevor's idea is deceptively simple: do a good deed for three people, and in exchange, ask each of them to "pay it forward" to three more. "So nine people get helped. Then those people have to do twenty-seven.... Then it sort of spreads out." Trevor's early attempts to get his project off the ground seem to end in failure: a junkie he befriends ends up back in jail; an elderly woman whose garden he tends dies unexpectedly. But even after the boy has given up on his plan, his acts of kindness bear unexpected fruit, and soon an entire movement is underway and spreading across America.

Trevor, meanwhile, could use a little help himself. His father walked out on the family, and his mother, Arlene, is fighting an uphill battle with alcoholism, poor judgment in men, and despair. When the boy's new Social Studies teacher, Reuben St. Clair, arrives on the scene, Trevor sees in him not only a source of inspiration for how to change the world, but also the means of altering his mother's life. Yet Reuben has his own set of problems. Horribly scarred in Vietnam, he is reluctant to open himself up to the possibility of rejection--or love. Indeed, the relationship between Arlene and Reuben is central to the novel as these two damaged people learn to "pay forward" the trust and affection Trevor has given them.

Hyde tells her tale from many different perspectives, using letters, diary entries, and first- and third-person narratives from the various people whose lives Trevor's project touches. Jerry Busconi, for example, the addict Trevor tried to help, one night finds himself talking a young woman out of jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge:
I'm a junkie, Charlotte. I'm always gonna be a junkie. I ain't never gonna be no fine, upstanding citizen. But then I thought, hell. Just pay it forward anyway. Kid tried to help me. Okay, it didn't work. Still, I'm trying to help you. Maybe you'll jump. I don't know. But I tried, right? But let me tell you one thing. I woke up one morning and somebody gave me a chance. Just outta nowhere. It was like a miracle. Now, how do you know that won't happen to you tomorrow?
Pay It Forward is reminiscent of Frank Capra's classic It's a Wonderful Life. Like the film, this novel has a steely core of gritty reality beneath its optimism: yes, one person can make a difference, can help to make the world a better place, but sickness, pain, heartache, and tragedy will still always be a part of the human condition. If at times Hyde stumbles a bit while negotiating the razor-thin line between honest feeling and sentimentality, it's generally not for long. And the occasional lapse into artificially colored emotion can be forgiven when weighed against the courage it takes to write so unabashedly hopeful a story in such cynical times. --Sheila Bright

Genre: General Fiction

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Used availability for Catherine Ryan Hyde's Pay It Forward

Hardback Editions

August 2014 : USA Hardback
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Title: Pay It Forward: Young Readers Edition
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 1-4814-0941-7 / 978-1-4814-0941-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


October 2008 : USA Library Binding

Title: Pay It Forward: A Novel
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 1-4395-6560-0 / 978-1-4395-6560-5 (USA edition)
Publisher:
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


October 2000 : USA Library Binding
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Title: Pay It Forward (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 0-613-33844-8 / 978-0-613-33844-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Turtleback Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


January 2001 : USA Hardback
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Title: Pay It Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 1-56895-960-5 / 978-1-56895-960-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Wheeler Pub Inc
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


February 2000 : USA Hardback
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Title: PAY IT FORWARD: A Novel
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 0-684-86271-9 / 978-0-684-86271-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


1999 : Hardback
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Title: Pay it Forward - Large Print Edition
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
Publisher: Wheeler Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

December 2014 : USA Paperback
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Title: Pay It Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 1-4767-9638-6 / 978-1-4767-9638-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


August 2014 : USA Paperback
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Title: Pay It Forward: Young Readers Edition
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 1-4814-0940-9 / 978-1-4814-0940-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


2014 : USA Paperback
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Title: "Pay It Forward"
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 0-545-80139-7 / 978-0-545-80139-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Scholastic
Availability: Amazon   


April 2010 : USA Paperback
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Title: Pay It Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 1-4391-7040-1 / 978-1-4391-7040-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


October 2007 : UK Paperback
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Title: Pay it Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 0-552-77425-1 / 978-0-552-77425-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Black Swan
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


January 2000 : USA Paperback
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Title: Pay It Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 0-606-21795-9 / 978-0-606-21795-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Demco Media
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


November 2000 : USA Paperback
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Title: Pay It Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 0-671-02860-X / 978-0-671-02860-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Trade
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


October 2000 : USA Mass Market Paperback
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Title: Pay It Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 0-7434-1202-8 / 978-0-7434-1202-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Pocket
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


1999 : USA Paperback
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Title: Pay It Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 0-7394-1255-8 / 978-0-7394-1255-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Availability: Amazon   


December 1939 : USA Paperback
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Title: Pay It Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 0-7434-1485-3 / 978-0-7434-1485-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


Audio Editions

March 2012 : USA Audio edition
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Title: Pay It Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Availability: Amazon   


March 2012 : Australia Audio edition
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Title: Pay It Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Availability: Amazon AU   


March 2012 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: Pay It Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Availability: Amazon CA   


March 2012 : UK Audio edition
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Title: Pay It Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Availability: Amazon UK   


February 2010 : USA Audio edition
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Title: Pay It Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Availability: Amazon   


September 2000 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: Pay it Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 0-7435-1804-7 / 978-0-7435-1804-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Audioworks
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


June 2000 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: Pay it Forward: Pay It Forward Complete & Unabridged
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 0-7927-2379-1 / 978-0-7927-2379-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Sound Library
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


October 2000 : USA Audio CD
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Title: Pay It Forward Movie Audio Book
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 0-7435-1805-5 / 978-0-7435-1805-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


February 2000 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: Pay it Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 0-671-78470-6 / 978-0-671-78470-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Audioworks
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


February 2000 : USA Audio CD
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Title: Pay It Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 0-684-87238-2 / 978-0-684-87238-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Kindle Editions

August 2014 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: Pay It Forward: Young Readers Edition
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


February 2012 : Australia, UK Kindle edition
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Title: Pay it Forward
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


March 2000 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: Pay It Forward: A Novel
Author(s): Catherine Ryan Hyde
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA