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

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  1,900 ratings  ·  83 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
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
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 3 of 5 stars  ·  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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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Jun 01, 2008 Eric rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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.
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
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
Lady Jane
This is one of the worst covers that I have ever seen. I almost did not buy the book because of this cover. It is a cheap paperback Scholastic that screams eighties. The guy in the bookstore laughed when I brought it to the counter. I was hoping to find an earlier edition that would match my childhood copies of the rest of the series and was so disappointed when this is what I had to buy.
Scholastic always was cheap and looked cheap.
Luckily books are about words and the reading of the words. Ev
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
Bridget Kelly
It was good but didn't have a lot of story to it
I really missed the Tillerman clan so it was great to get back into this series (thank you VPL for ordering this book for me!). Is this book as good as Homecoming or Dicey's Song? No, but it's close. Bullet is an interesting character, he's an angry loner who runs only for himself...but he's also quite human and eventually learns and grows (and isn't that what we expect in a YA novel). But oh man, I sure do love those little peeks into the mother's world. Mother here, Grandmother in the other bo ...more
Wasn't crazy about this on, it took a long time to read.

The storyline was just OK. It showed how preconceived notions about things like race can really come back to bite you in the end! (pun intended!).

I found the main character descriptions were good but the storyline left a lot to be desired. It was told from the viewpoint of a headstrong teenager and his thoughts on his parents, his schoolmates and of course running. I just didn't find it very interesting at all.
Liza Wiemer
The entire Tillerman Series is unforgettable. In THE RUNNER, the reader learns about the horrific conditions the Tillermans' mother (Liza) grew up in, and what happened to her brother, Bullet. What shapes a person - prejudice, abuse, love or lack of - is an overall theme. Cynthia Voigt doesn't waste a word - each one builds on the next developing the characters, connecting the reader to the point that you are lost in the book. Doesn't matter how old you are, it's a great read.
I thought this book was really good. It was about a person who ran to get away from problems in his family, he had a strict dad and his mom was unable to show him her love. Instead of suffering at his home, he left and ran. He kept practicing and practicing running, until he got better and he turned into a pro runner. I was able to relate to the book a little because I kind of have strict parents, and it made the book alot more interesting to read.
The Runner is about a boy who is the star of the track team, but doesn't care about winning. He builds a wall around himself, and doesn't let anyone tell him what to do. He hates his father, and his 2 older siblings have already left because of their dad. When his track coach asks him to help train another runner, He ends up learning more about himself. I enjoyed this book.
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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)
Homecoming (Tillerman Cycle, #1) Dicey's Song (Tillerman Cycle, #2) A Solitary Blue (Tillerman Cycle, #3) Jackaroo (Kingdom, #1) Izzy, Willy-Nilly

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