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

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,073 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
Bullet Tillerman is a loner, with little interest in anyone or anything except running. But this is the 1960s, and with racial war at home and the Vietnam War abroad, Bullet's beliefs have to change. Is black athlete Tamer Shipp the person who will help him to make that change?

A gut-wrenching story about war, racism and strength of personality, The Runner builds on charact
Paperback, 287 pages
Published October 1st 2000 by HarperCollins Publishers (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
Feb 15, 2015 Cherie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 12, 2012 Tori 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  ·  review of another edition
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
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 goi
Jun 13, 2015 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good series . The ending is sad but if you have read the series you know what is going to happen.
Mar 02, 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
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
Charlie Moses
Jul 07, 2015 Charlie Moses rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 09, 2014 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 14, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a on the grade 8 reading list in Canada. My teacher assigned us the book. I was amazed that a school book could actually hold my interest when I usually read contemporary and sci-if.

This book is absolutely amazing. It follows Bullet a cross country runner during the 1960 during the huge racial dispute. This also plays a major role in the book along with bullet's hard ass father who wants everything his way.

At first you could think he is un relatable but Bullet holds some of the qu
Jul 18, 2015 Alicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 06, 2015 Kellyanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kellyanne by: 146
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Sep 13, 2011 Selin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 13, 2014 Sandra Munro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Gage Mcnally
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
Nicholas Wong
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
May 16, 2010 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 01, 2008 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 08, 2010 Justinllamas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Gautama Siddartha
The first time I read this when I was 16 and the last time was last year. I love it. Its about a loner who runs cross country to feel good and ends up winning track meets. He wants to figure out life and learns about accepting other races as well. The end was not so good though...

good read.
Mar 31, 2014 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
This is the story behind the story. In this excerpt we find out more about the Samuel who Dicey's brother is named after. He is a distant quiet boy who runs for enjoyment.
Dec 01, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like this one as much as the other Tillerman books. It was just sad most of the time and you knew it was coming up to a sad ending, not hopeful like the other ones. There was a part in this book that I was sobbing over, literally, but that was more cause it had to do with an animal than any of the other characters. Stuff like that gets to me. This book dealt with racism and the feelings of the draft going on during the Vietnam War and offered some good insight for me on how scary things ...more
This installment in the Tillerman Cycle goes back in time to focus on Bullet Tillerman, son of Abigail and uncle to the four Tillerman children we are introduced to in book one. I liked this better than the diversion away from the Tillerman clan that happened in the book before this one, A Solitary Blue. It was nice to get back to the original bloodline. A pretty sad story, this one, but I loved it because I could see how much Sammy takes after his Uncle Bullet, and how Abigail came to be the wa ...more
Mae Walker
This book is mainly worth reading for the references to the Tillermans that makes Come a Stranger (the following book in the series) a lot more deep.
Sep 28, 2011 Sania rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have very fond memories of this book from my teens. It holds first times in many things in my life. It was the first book i ever cried for while reading. It was also the first book given to me as a present by a stranger. I remember it clearly because my English teacher gave it to me the summer i left my old school as a goodbye gift from her and the school librarian because i used to help her read to middle school kids during my lunch break. This title simply holds many beautiful memories for m ...more
Marta Wingler
Jan 23, 2016 Marta Wingler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bullet is my second favorite character in Voight's Tillerman Series. I identified with him in several ways.
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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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