Sam8cn's Reviews > The Contender

The Contender by Robert Lipsyte
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U 50x66
's review
Sep 10, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: summer-reading

I loved this fantastic and heart warming novel and I consider it one of the better sports books I've read. Its core character Alfred Brooks, a high school drop out decides to go into boxing after his best friend James chooses the wrong path and gets in trouble for robbing a grocer and gets deeper and deeper into drug addiction. He gets coached by the great Donatelli who tells him that it isn't the highest goal that means the most, but the journey and climb. He is troubled morally for everything that is wrong for him in his meager harlem life including his mother dying when he was young. At one major point in the book, Alfred considers quitting. After some deep words from his coach, he gets back on track with renewed enthusiasm. He starts boxing in the arena getting some good wins but gradually showing that he is nothing special. Finally, after a crushing defeat by an opponent, Donatelli decides that Alfred doesn't have the killer instinct that makes a good boxer and persuades him to stop. In the end, we see that Alfred's whole life has been turned around by the sport. Alfred finishes high school, and starts to look seriously at a better life other than his job as a green-grocer's assistant. It shows that dedication and hard work always prevail for the better and that sports and physical activity are essential in sustaning a good life and frame of mind.

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