Trixie Fontaine's Reviews > Lean On Pete

Lean On Pete by Willy Vlautin
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2010-consumption, pac-nw-fiction, favorites, outside

I loved Motel Life so when I saw this Willie Vlautin prominently displayed at the library I quickly snatched it up, forgetting that I'd planned to avoid it because it sounded WAY TOO DAMNED SAD. I made it through though, but crunched it into basically one sitting because it was more difficult to live with than Motel Life (because the main character is so young, I think) but again, it wasn't as unbearably depressing as I'd feared.

The other reason I read it quickly? Because it's amazing. Even when living in a house, Charley is on the road . . . it's a road story, beloved animal story, SURVIVAL story (one young person fending for himself in many hostile environments). Yes, we hear what Charley has to eat and/or drink (or doesn't get to eat or drink) whenever he eats or drinks. Contrary to what one reviewer said, IT'S NOT ALWAYS CHEESEBURGERS, and contrary to what many reviewers said, these details are actually important . . . they are a significant part of the story and fraught with tension because, again, it's a story of survival. For some people that IS the story: whether or not they get to eat anything that day and the ends they have to go to to have their basic fucking needs met. And how heartbreaking it is that a child's life should be consumed with the things so many people take for granted in the US (and how it can break a child to not be able to take them for granted and have to take that responsibility himself).

But that's not all of the book . . . it's constantly in motion while also being extremely persuasive about social welfare issues. There are metaphors in here and scathing criticisms of certain kinds of hypocrites, but none of it is heavy-handed. The story-telling is never compromised. By the end of the book, though, you are bleeding inside begging for someone to take care of this kid. This is the new old west.

Sidenote: why do people here take up three and four paragraphs with their version of "this is the story of . . . " when there's already a much more objective DESCRIPTION of the book up at the top of every page? The funny part is that people who do that never seem to get it right. I wish they'd write their responses to the book and analysis instead of their skewed synopses.
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Reading Progress

July 22, 2010 – Started Reading
July 22, 2010 – Shelved
July 22, 2010 –
page 38
12.5% "I made it through Motel Life without being TOO heartbroken, but have a feeling this one's going to slay me."
July 23, 2010 – Finished Reading
July 24, 2010 – Shelved as: 2010-consumption
July 28, 2012 – Shelved as: pac-nw-fiction
November 13, 2012 – Shelved as: favorites
January 25, 2013 – Shelved as: outside

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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message 1: by Lukie (new)

Lukie I agree, I'd rather not read yet another synopsis of the book, I just want people's impressions/opinions.

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