The Contender
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Contender (The Contender #1)

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  2,355 ratings  ·  341 reviews
This is a sports fiction novel that tells a story of Alfred Brooks, a seventeen-year-old high school drop-out, living in Harlem, finding his way in the world and in boxing. Alfred learns that getting to the top is not as important as how you get there, and that before you can be a champion, you have to be a contender with the will to get back on your feet after you have be...more
Paperback, 190 pages
Published May 1st 1996 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 1967)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Game. Set. Match. by Jennifer IacopelliDairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert MurdockCatching Jordan by Miranda KenneallyThe Off Season by Catherine Gilbert MurdockFront and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
YA Sport Novels
34th out of 191 books — 257 voters
The Outsiders by S.E. HintonA Measure of Disorder by Alan  TuckerThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Best Books for Middle school grade level
39th out of 171 books — 91 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Narayan Neupane
(by Narayan Neupane) Date(Jan-8-11)

I found this book on ms. nelson class. That was my reading ESL class. when I saw the cover of the book, I saw one guys with wearing a boxer gloves that make me to read. When I saw that I think that could be the best book. Also I though that I can get some lesson from that book so that is why I like this book and I think that this book will be also hard but when I read I am interested on this book. I am interested to know something and I start to read.

"The Cont...more
Jeremy
This is an amazing book; I was intrigued from the very beginning of this novel. I would recommend this book to anybody that loves fighting and underdog stories. I think the authors intention to writing this book was to encourage young men that are living in the hood that and to let them know they don’t have to be bad like everybody else around them and with hard work they can really do something with their life. My favorite character was definitely the main character, Alfred Brooks, I felt like...more
Jacob
This book was a really great example of how hard work and dedication can really get you a long way. This book takes place in Harlem, New York in the middle of the twentieth century. The main character of this book is a seventeen year old boy who's an orphan living with his aunt and nieces. Alfred works at a store during the day, and trains to be a boxer in the morning. At one point in the story, he gets himself caught up with a gang that he's had some history with in the past. After these incid...more
Megan Dickinson
I don't really like this book; it doesn't make any sense. It's not my type of book. Can we read a different/better book next time? The ending didn't make sense, Alfred just walked away into the sunshine with a guy who ditched him for bullies for the whole entire book and gives up his boxing career for James. James doesn't do anything for Albert except to give him trouble. Then, Albert forgives James which I don't think he should have done; if I were him, I would have taken him to the police, I w...more
Jackson M
The book the “The Contender” by Robert Lipstye was a decent book. I would recommend this book to my friend because it is a high paced book and its about sports. This book wasn’t amazing but it was pretty good that is why I rated it a four out of five. The Contender was about a highschool drop-out named Alfred Brooks. He lived in Harlem with his aunt and also he works part time at a grocery store. Alfred’s bestfriend got addicted to drugs and started to hang around with punks, therefore Alfred is...more
Matt Smith
This summer I was told i had to read a book. this book was about a black boy, and the boy was going down the rong path. His friend was doing bad things and he got put in jail. So to prevent him to go to jail he started to box.

The summery of the book is that two boys were starting to get in trouble so one boy started to do good and he started to box but the other boy was still doing bad things so that kid went to jail. the boy that started to box was training all day every day but after a few wee...more
Alice (Farewell, Office)
As an adult who mainly reads books written for an older audience, I am conditioned to books with well-developed, 3-dimensional characters and multiple subplots. In contrast, this book is rather simplistic. The main character, Alfred Brooks, is mostly a 2-dimensional character who also happens to be dynamic. Characters who undergo changes in personality and beliefs tend to be more well-rounded and finding a flat, but dynamic character can be fairly rare. However, this is exactly what Lipsyte has...more
Seth Singer
In the novel The Contender, a boy named Alfred Brooks lives with his aunt, and drops out of high school so he can work full time at the grocery store where he works. Alfred's aunt, in the book called Aunt Pearl, takes care of Alfred after he lost both of his parents. Alfred's best friend, James, loses his relationship with Alfred after he is arrested and gets addicted to drugs. Mr. Donatelli is the owner of a gym that Alfred joins to box when he decides that he wants to find meaning in his life....more
Bryan Cook
Although I HAD to read a book this summer, I think this was the book to choose. My opinion for The Contender is that it is a great book. It kept me interested the entire time I was reading it. The main character, Alfred Brooks, is a high school dropout that wasnts to learn how to box. He ends up going to a gym where Mr. Donatelli and other boxers and trainers teach him how to box. His childhood friend, James, ends up geetting in with the wrong crowd and gets into drugs and trouble with the polic...more
Zach Longacre
This book is about Alfred Brooks. He is a high school drop-out who is working at a grocery store. His best friend James, who is battling drug addictions, tries to break into the grocery store after hours and gets put in jail. Alfred is not looking for a purpose in life, and decides to join Donatelli's Gym. He made this decision when he walked past it one night after thinking about his future. After meeting Mr. Donatelli, Alfred gets a strict work out plan and diet which he struggles through.

I li...more
Frankie Lopez
The Contender by Robert Lipsyte, is one of my favorite books that I have read because it deals with real life situations, and a struggle to fight an addiction. If you like a book that is slow paced with great meaning and life lessens, then this is the book for you. This not only touches your heart but it relates to you in many ways.It consists of a young adult that gets wrapped up with the wrong people and getting evolved in bad situations. He struggles to fight the addiction of drugs and of pe...more
Trevor
The Contender is the story of Alfred Brooks, a 17-year-old African-American high school dropout who is torn between the street life of his Harlem neighborhood, and his dreams of becoming a champion boxer. He lives with his aunt pearl and her 3 daughters. Alfred goes through rigorous training as he struggles to improve himself and overcome his doubts of his ability. I believe that boxing is a way for him to prove to himself that he has the heart of a contender in the boxing ring and in life even...more
Parker Boelling
This book was about a kid named Alfred. He has no parents and is just trying to find his way in life. He hangs out with the bad crowed, but the streets are all he knows. Alfred starts to realize the streets are not a good place. He figures out that he needs to get away from the bad crowed and do something good with his life. He starts to box as a hobby. It turns into an all the time thing and it is all he does. Will boxing pay off for Alfred? Read the book and find out. I think this book is alri...more
Jenny Brown
If you get Bob Lipsyte talking about how The Contender came to be, he will tell you that the seed was planted when he took a man named Cus D’Amato out to dinner, shortly before he covered a boxing match in 1964 in Miami. Lipsyte would later go on to be a sports columnist for the New York Times, but in 1964 he was a cub reporter sent to cover the fight between Sonny Lipton and a new kid whom everyone thought would get knocked out in the first round, Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammad Ali).

Ful...more
Dallas Hunt
i really enjoyed it. It was inspiring for me because i play sports as well
what i like most about the book is that he stayed in the gym he didnt goto the bad streets
of harlem and he was caring he tried to sace his friend from going down the bad side but he
did the best he could




my second favorite part is that he stayed dedicated to boxing no matter what the bad part
i dont like was when the thugs tried to get him to break in a store but he couldnt do it
and also when he got into a car of the thu...more
7703Emil
The Contender, By Robert Lipyte, is a book that takes place in Harlem, in the times of segregation. Alfred Brooks is a grocery worker, but is tired of that and wants to be a boxer. With proper training, he actually has some professional fights. If you like books with sports, hard times, and friend problems, this book is great as a good read
Diannar
The contender is about a teenage drop out, who was in a gang and gets out of it. He goes into boxing, and wants to be a Champaign. But what he doesn't know that it takes a lot of hard work to be a winner and reach to the top. He always wanted to give up, just quit all of what he's learn but always reminds himself about what he wants.
Nicholas
This a story about high school dropout Alfred Brooks living a tough life. His old best friend James doing drugs, breaking into stores and always hanging out with Major, Sonny, and Hollis the really mean ones. Now Alfred is working at a grocery store. And now Major, James, Sonny, and Hollis are going to break into the grocery store and Alfred knows but he didn't tell them about the silent alarm. So know his best friend is in jail, he has tree guys coming after him so he only has one choice and th...more
Peyton Collier
This book is a good book for people that enjoy realistic fiction with a little action. The main character Alfred wants to be a boxer so there is some action and people that are not on his side/not liking him so there is sure to be some action.
Jonathan Da-silva
May 28, 2014 Jonathan Da-silva is currently reading it
Alfred Brooks, 17 year old high school dropout who works at the local grocery store. But that job isn't taking him anywhere. So Alfred began to go to Donatelli's Gym, a boxing club in Harlem where the best champions in the world trained. There he learns that work takes effort, you must train to succeed. Alfred is hoping he can go pro. But will he go through all the training to become pro? Or will he quit boxing how he quit school?

This book was great. I can admit, it was a little sad and depress...more
Chantelle
Another inner-city-kid overcomes the odds story.

Gangs, shootings, drugs, etc. The protagonist fights (ha, pun intended) his way out with the help of caring mentors at a boxing gym.

Grant Wenger
I really liked this book I would recomend this book to people who like boxing or just any teenage boy.
Mikial Shaffer
"The Contender" is by far one of the greatest books that I have ever read. It goes in depth of the life a normal young man by the name of Alfred Brooks, a very plain and average citizen in New York. It was incredibly hard to put down after I started reading it! Being an aspiring boxer myself, this gives true inspiration to train harder and harder. The suspense when Alfred is in the ring is so intense it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and the ending of the book is so heart touchin...more
Kim
This was a really wonderful book. It's a well-written, inspiring story of a boy who stood at the proverbial fork in the road, and makes the right choice--though not without difficulty. In the 1960's, Alfred Brooks is a high-school dropout. He works part-time at a grocery store, his parents are dead, and his best friend has fallen in with a bad crowd. Knowing that he, too, is close to falling into this world of drugs and violence, Alfred turns his energies toward boxing. Through his commitment to...more
Amy B
The Contender is a Best Book (sports). The Contender is a story of 17 year old Alfred who has had a rough time so far. His father deserted he and his mother when he was 10 years old. His mother died when he was 13. He now lives in Harlem with is aunt her 3 daughters. How does
Alfred survive in this environment? His best friend James always stood by him. Alfred is tired of getting beat up all the time. He decides to do something about it so he starts training to be a boxer. Donatelli is the train...more
Aref Elbanna
The genre of the book is fiction. The book talks about a guy named Alfred Brooks who was struggling while growing up. He had poor education, financial struggles, and drug temptations. He wanted a better life, so his friend named Henry got Alfred involved in Boxing. Alfred started to train on daily basis because he wanted to be a contender. I chose this book to read because it can be a true story in real life, in which a person wants a change for the better. Also, it teaches a person how to overc...more
Dan Thorson
Growing up in Harlem, Alfred Brooks is not usually surrounded by positive opportunities. Rather, Alfred is often surrounded by friends who resort to violence, drugs, or hopelessness. These choices, however, do not suit Lipsyte's protagonist. Alfred avoids these grim roads by working at a market and taking boxing lessons. As an aspiring boxer, Alfred relishes the discipline and self-control it takes to reach prime physical health. Vigorous training and eating well represent two keys to becoming a...more
Rodrigo
I think this book is interesting because of the outhor's
way of describing the story and how is trying to tell you a very big and important message that says no matter what happens you always have, something like a big oportunity to go on and have life eaven when you went through the hardest things in your life you could still have something you always wanted to have you just need to fight for it until you get it, like Alfred did when donatelli tells Alfred that he can't be fighting anymore beca...more
Lazaro Ortega
Jan 13, 2011 Lazaro Ortega rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every body who like boxing
Recommended to Lazaro by: Ms. Nelson
The protagonist, Alfred Brooks is hanging out with his best friend, James, and James's friends Major and Hollis. The three of them want to break into the Epsteins' grocery store where Alfred works. Although Alfred does not go with them, he forgets about the new alarm system that the Epsteins just installed. James gets caught by the police, and later that night, Major and Hollis beat Alfred up. A man from the neighborhood, Henry, takes Alfred home. Henry mentions that he has been working for Mr....more
Faysal Abdi
The reason I have selected this book is because of its title. A contender is some one who fight hard to be somebody. My teacher told me to write a book report of a book I had never read it. I choosed the contnder because is a book that is connected to my life. After the book report I loved the book and wanted to finish it. I read it on the school bus while i was going home. My friends called me a nerd. But I didnt care because I was a Contender. The minority and of the low income students had so...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Rossetti Semester...: Symbolism 1 3 Jan 22, 2014 08:31PM  
Rossetti Semester...: The Contender Metaphor 1 21 Jan 08, 2014 07:03AM  
Rossetti Semester...: The Contender characterization 1 12 Jan 02, 2014 03:55PM  
Rossetti Semester...: Contender setting 1 7 Jan 02, 2014 03:33PM  
Rossetti Semester...: Symbolism 1 12 Dec 29, 2013 11:21AM  
Rossetti Semester...: The Contender Summary 1 7 Dec 29, 2013 11:09AM  
  • The Moves Make the Man
  • Zane's Trace
  • Hoops
  • A Hero Ain't Nothin But a Sandwich
  • 7 Days at the Hot Corner
  • Miracle's Boys
  • Night Hoops
  • Box Out
  • Father's Arcane Daughter
  • The Friends
  • Rucker Park Setup
  • Children of the River
  • Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art
  • Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack!
  • Ironman
  • Remembering the Good Times
  • The Graduation of Jake Moon
  • Why I Fight
One Fat Summer Raiders Night Center Field Yellow Flag The Brave

Share This Book

“It's the climbing that makes the man. Getting to the top is an extra reward. ” 13 likes
More quotes…