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The Runner (Tillerman Cycle, #4)
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The Runner (Tillerman Cycle #4)

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  2,343 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
Bullet Tillerman runs. He runs to escape the criticism of his harsh, unforgiving father. He runs to numb the pain of his mother's inability to express her love. He is the star of the school track team, but he isn't a team man and doesn't want to be. Bullet runs for himself.
Bullet is unlikely choice to be asked to coach a new, African-American team memb
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Simon Pulse (first published 1985)
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The Runner is the fourth book in Voigt's Tillerman Cycle. This installment goes back several decades to focus on Bullet, the long-dead uncle of the children in Homecoming and Dicey's Song. The book itself stands on its own with no problems; certain incidents and themes that are mentioned in the first two Tillerman books are explored in more detail, but one does not have to have read those books to understand this one.

Bullet Tillerman is intent on sliding through highschool and escaping with as l
Jan 04, 2012 Cherie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: series
Cynthia Voight really knows how to write. I have always known it, but I never appreciated it until now, not completely, not wholly.

I read Dicey's Song over thirty years ago. I read Homecoming after that. Until a month ago, I was pretty sure that I had read a few of her other books in what is now called The Tillerman Cycle. I wasn't sure which ones though, so I requested them all from my library. Yestready I finished A Solitary Blue. A few minutes ago, I finished this book.

You know how you get l
Apr 18, 2009 Josiah rated it it was amazing
By the time I picked up this fourth book in the Tillerman Cycle, I was fully expecting for the raw beauty of Cynthia Voigt's story to blow me away as it did in the first three books, and I was not let down to any extent.
The plot is fully and richly developed, as is always the case for Cynthia Voigt books. By the end of the pages I was once again stunned by the internal resonance and the sheer awesome power of word that the author is able to wield. The Runner blew my mind once again, givi
Elsa K
Jan 29, 2017 Elsa K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remembered this one being my least favorite of the series. Reading it as an adult I was struck that it was really well done. Bullet isn't exactly likable, but for some reason I was rooting for him. I love how different of a character he is. I also appreciate how many of these books can stand alone, but if you know the back story they are that much more interesting. I loved learning more about Gram and Liza and the family dynamic. I give it a solid four stars.
Tori Hook
May 17, 2012 Tori Hook rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Athletes, or people with "hard" personalities
Recommended to Tori by: Myself. :)
Set in the late 1960's, The Runner is about the young Bullet Tillerman, star cross country runner. However, unlike other athletes, Bullet doesn't run to win. He runs to run. Living in a heavy time politically, Bullet has to sort out his feelings about the Vietnam War and the still present racial prejudices. On top of all of this, his father is a controller, who likes everything to be his way and his way only - he's already pushed Bullet's older brother and sister away, and he can see "the old ma ...more
Apr 05, 2008 Anthony rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teenagers
I read this over and over and over from 14 to 16. This book had a big impact on my life.
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Nov 06, 2013 Cindy Dyson Eitelman rated it it was amazing
I thought Cynthia Voigt's other Tillerman books--The Homecoming and Dicey's Song and A Solitary Blue--were the most painful and joyful young adult literature I would ever read.  Guess I'm still reading.

minor spoiler follows:
Suggestion: do as I did, wait a few months after you read Homecoming before you read this book.  Assuming your memory is as weak as mine, you'll be halfway through before you realize who the main character is.  And if your memory is really bad, you'll have forgotten how it's
Aug 22, 2008 Peter rated it it was amazing
Another sad story in this series. It lays some back story for the previous books. It is set during the turbulent time of the Vietnam war and civil rights movement, both of which influence circumstances.

This story was about motivations for actions. In this story we are all in boxes. Boxes produced by our fears, desires, needs, rules and laws laid down by others and perhaps most importantly our own perceptions.

Bullet the main character first tries to escape all boxes, but realizes he can't. Inste
Nov 06, 2016 Julie rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking, brilliant, and uncompromising. This book is not a fun read, and the main character is not someone you love. And yetI cared very much about him, while wanting him to change and knowing he wouldn't.
Jun 13, 2015 Karen rated it liked it
Good series . The ending is sad but if you have read the series you know what is going to happen.
Leslie Wilkins
Adding this to my list to read with the kids in a few years (Maxine's a little young yet, I think). "Homecoming" is the first in the series.
Feb 27, 2017 Pan rated it really liked it
When you think of a family you probably think of a happy family , a father that's proud of his son's or daughter's and supports them and teaches them and a mother who would show love to her children and wants the best for them. Bullet is the main character in this storie, he has an abusive dad and a mother who doesn't show love so what does bullet do too get away from all of this he run's. Bullet ran for cross country and went too state multiple times because he was the best at it and doing the ...more
Sep 24, 2016 Joe rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 23, 2017 Elena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
This is not a pleasant read. Bullet is not a likable protagonist, even as his way of being in the world is unusual and fascinating. On top of that, for anyone who's read the other books in this series, foreknowledge about the end of his story haunts the rest of the novel.

And yet, this unflinching look at a painful life in a wrenching time in US history is as thought-provoking and beautiful as it is harrowing.
Feb 28, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading a couple of YA duds in a row, I decided to revisit an author, a series, and a family that I have loved since I was eleven: Cynthia Voigt's Tillerman family. I only read the central three Tillerman books as a teen - Homecoming, Dicey's Song, and my favorite, A Solitary Blue - but have always wanted to read the other four. I decided to start with The Runner because the Tillermans were primarily what fascinated me about the series, particularly the Tillermans you don't really get to k ...more
Jan 02, 2014 Kellyanne rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kellyanne by: 146
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gage Mcnally
Mar 13, 2011 Gage Mcnally rated it liked it
In The Runner, Bullet Tillerman,a 17 year old track star, has to decide if he will go off to the Vietnam War or stay home with his family. Bullet is a senior in high school who wants to be in complete control of his own life. He will not allow himself to become bossed around by the demands of his father. Bullets brother and sister have already left the farm because of the father’s hardheaded personality. His mother does not have much say as to what bullet does. She cannot appeal what the father ...more
Susan L
i thought it was confusing at first, it was hard to follow the plot of the story. later on, it was clear about one's dream that they try to accomplish. bullet is a senior in high school who have absolute control over his life. he have a negative view against other people which led to less interaction with people. it reminds me of those stereotypical people because they only look at the outer appearance of one person and they would judge people by the way they act, look, etc. he is stubborn becau ...more
May 30, 2011 Selin rated it it was amazing
I actually wrote a proper review on it for school, but I want to write this differently
First of all, so far non of the tillerman books ever dissapointed me. All very touching, and this too made me cry.
I am really upset that Bullet dies -this is not a spoiler cuz its obvious if u read diceys song- and that was the part I cried, afterall I was inlove with him (yes! Inlove with a book character!) And he had mentally grown so much. I hate young souls to be wasted in wars, so this year for isearch (a
Sandra Munro
Jun 03, 2009 Sandra Munro rated it really liked it
I REALLY like this book a lot. Cythia Voigt's books (particularly the Tillerman series) are filled with characters - strong characters - that are very unlike me. They surprise me: their feelings and attitudes are often very different to mine - therefore they interest me, although we are in sync enough in some important ways too, for me to enjoy their company. This is probably my favourite book of them all. Bullet (the central character) is a person of undeviating, seemingly effortless integrity. ...more
Oct 14, 2014 Alicia rated it it was amazing
The only introduction I had to Cynthia Voigt as a kid was some mystery about a mummy and so I was a bit skeptical when I picked up this series. I was wrong, Cynthia. I was wrong about what I thought about you.

The Runner is fantastic. It tackles issues of race and decisions and family relationships with a blunt honesty that is refreshing after listening to so many lectures on political correctness. I can see why this was her favorite book to write in the series.

Her writing style is still spare w
Nicholas Wong
Jan 22, 2012 Nicholas Wong rated it it was ok
The runner is about a kid named Bullet Tillerman and he is having a hard time deciding between going to join the army or stay home. But if i was in his shoes i would probably be joining the army because he has a really stubborn dad to live with and he has no siblings to talk to or help him out. Also this book i thought this book was an allegorical story about all kids that leave high school to go to college. Also Bullet is a really athletic person and is very successful in the sport called track ...more
Oct 20, 2009 Megan rated it really liked it
There's a lot of anger and teen angst packed into this book, and it is very compelling. I didn't necessarily identify with Bullet, the main character, but I was fascinated by him. I continue to be intrigued by this Tillerman cycle. I like discovering the older generation's issues just as much as reading the younger generation's troubles, and to me it was interesting how the past influenced the present that exists in Dicey's Song. I wanted those glimpses of the grandparents at home, making their ...more
Feb 03, 2010 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 29, 2008 Eric rated it liked it
Recommends it for: teens/ young adults entering into adulthood
Bullet hates his father and is willing to do anything he can to annoy him. Bullet loves to run and would not listen to what anyone says but his own. He thinks highly of his own opinions and thoughts that he disregards the surrounding people around him and thinks of them as scum. He got an occasional job of being a fisherman where he feels he is treated for the first time like a man/ a grown up unlike at home where his father treats him like scum. Being grown up and approaching to manhood comes t ...more
Sean Haremza
Nov 04, 2015 Sean Haremza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book. The Runner is the story of a high school kid, named Bullet, who is a great runner. He is the star cross country runner, and has never lost a race. He doesn’t run because he’s good at it, he runs because he loves it. He is usually a loner and only cares about himself but as he makes a new friend named Tamer, his views seem to change. Bullet learns about himself throughout the book.
If you are a runner, I would recommend that you read this book. The story is grea
Jun 08, 2010 Justinllamas rated it it was amazing
Samuel "Bullet" Tillerman is the star of his high school cross country team. He runs not because he wanted to win, but to escape his mean father. Bullet did not like to be told what to do, and he doesn't care about what people thought of him. Bullet could have gotten a college scholarship very easily with his running abilities. Instead, he signed up to fight in Vietnam when he turned 18 because he did not want to continue with his studies. To Bullet, being drafted meant that he was forced to fig ...more
I don't entirely know why Cynthia Voigt felt that Bullet's story needed to be shared, except perhaps to give a little background on the overall story of the kids. But Bullet is not a particularly likeable character--you can get that from the other books, and it makes this story uncomfortable.

I might have been able to overlook that--not all books should be comfortable--but I also felt like there were huge chunks of subtext that I was expected to understand and I didn't. It made me feel like I jus
Apr 04, 2014 Julie rated it liked it
I love the first three books in the Tillerman cycle, and I liked this one, but that may only be because I already had an emotional investment in the Tillermans so I enjoyed learning more of their back story. I do not think this one will appeal to its target market as much as the other three. Reading details about Bullet’s races held very little interest for me, but about half way through the book I became more invested in the characters and story. Voigt always unfolds her characters and stories ...more
Charlie Moses
Jul 07, 2015 Charlie Moses rated it it was amazing
I really prefer books with a positive and/or uplifting ending. If you like books that end on a down, fine for you, but I want to go in the other direction. If you've read the previous Tillerman books, you know that this book is a prequel, and you know what ultimately happens to the viewpoint character. Despite knowing the end from the beginning, the author author manages to carry us along as she fills in our doomed character's story and takes us through the last year or so of his life. Which was ...more
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Cynthia Voigt is an American author of books for young adults dealing with various topics such as adventure, mystery, racism and child abuse.

Angus and Sadie: the Sequoyah Book Award (given by readers in Oklahoma), 2008
The Katahdin Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Anne V. Zarrow Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Margaret Edwards Award, for a body of work, 1995
Jackaroo: Ratte
More about Cynthia Voigt...

Other Books in the Series

Tillerman Cycle (7 books)
  • Homecoming (Tillerman Cycle, #1)
  • Dicey's Song (Tillerman Cycle, #2)
  • A Solitary Blue (Tillerman Cycle, #3)
  • Come a Stranger (Tillerman Cycle, #5)
  • Sons from Afar (Tillerman Cycle, #6)
  • Seventeen Against the Dealer (Tillerman Cycle, #7)

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“You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs ... They thought that just because they were smashing eggs they must be making an omelette” 1 likes
“Bullet shrugged. She was right, it would just be another box. It was going to be just another box for him, too, but he'd figured it out. You didn't get out of one box without getting into another, and you didn't get out of one box without getting into another, and you didn't get out without it costing you. For himself, he was just looking for a box that fit him. For her - what he was hoping to do was just loosen a board or two for her. It was up to her what she did about that.” 0 likes
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