Amy B's Reviews > The Contender

The Contender by Robert Lipsyte
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's review
Mar 02, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: kent-ya-class
Read in February, 2009

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 trainer at the gym. He is a wise father figure to Alfred. According to Donatelli, if Alfred tries to be a contender, championships will come. He also teaches him that a man finishes what he starts. Alfred is very dedicated. He gets up to run at five in the morning. He works really hard for a long time without a fight. He gets a job at Epstein's grocery. He seems to be on the right path. But his best friend, James gets involved with this gang that is into drugs. James and the gang break into Epstein's grocery one night. Mr. Epstein had just put in an alarm system and they get caught. Mr. Epstein doesn't trust Alfred after this. Alfred tries to get James to turn around but his efforts just pull Alfred in the wrong direction toward drugs and getting beat up. Alfred finally gets to fight and does well for the first couple. Then during the third fight he thinks he really hurt the other fighter, and he holds back. Donatelli tells Alfred he doesn't have what is takes to be a great fighter. He lacks the killer instinct and he needs to quit before the next fight, or he may get hurt badly. Alfred decides to finish what he started and fight that one last time. Alfred loses his last fight buy he goes the distance. He walks away from the fight with a new confidence and is now self-motivated to be a contender in life, not just in the ring. Then Alfred finds out that is friend James is bleeding and running from the cops from breaking through the window at Epsteins grocery. Alfred finds him in their secret hiding place. He talks him into having enough hope in life to go the the hospital. This is a great story of how making the right choices for one's self in life can make all the difference not only in one's own life, but in the lives of others. Alfred had to find ways to achieve some of the 40 positive aspects that young people need to make a successful life. Alfred had to go find a father figure. Alfred had to make the choice to stay away from the gang. Alfred got a job at Epstein's grocery and didn't steal even though he was very poor. Alfred took the initiative to make positive things happen. He didn't expect anything good would just come to him. I loved this story. VOYA quality is a 5. Popularity is probably a 4. Many of the girls aren't attracted to this book, although I think they would enjoy it.


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