There had always been the Running Man—always that phantom form somewhere in the distance, always shuffling relentlessly closer . . .
For a long time, fourteen-year-old Joseph has wondered about old Tom Leyton, his reclusive next-door neighbor. Gossip and rumors suggest that something terrible happened to Tom in the past.
Then Joseph is asked to draw Tom for a school art project, and that means Joseph has the opportunity to uncover the truth about this man who passes his days tending silkworms and keeping dark secrets.
As Joseph learns more and more about Tom's world, he is forced to confront his own fears. Is there some connection between Joseph's dreams and his feelings about his father, who seems to have abandoned the family? And why does he continue to have nightmares about the Running Man—the disheveled figure who wanders aimlessly through town?
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Michael Gerard Bauer, is is the award-winning author of Don't Call Me Ishmael. He has taught English and economics, and lives in the suburb of Ashgrove, Australia.From School Library Journal:
Grade 9 Up—Joseph, a 14-year-old living in an Australian suburb, draws a portrait of a reclusive neighbor for a school assignment. A Vietnam vet, Tom Leyton lives in his family home with his outgoing sister, Caroline, and devotes his time to raising silkworms. A nosy neighbor warns Joseph and his mum about rumors that Tom was asked to leave his teaching position due to improper behavior toward a student, but Joseph perseveres, with Caroline's encouragement. At first almost noncommunicative, Tom gradually opens up to shy Joseph, who in turn shares secrets regarding his absent father. Threaded throughout the tale is Joseph's fascination with the Running Man, a homeless person who jogs through the streets, and about whom he has nightmares. This nearly plotless story features strong character development and delves into the post-traumatic stress syndrome afflicting Tom. However, when he finally tells Joseph about the events in Vietnam that have left him so scarred, the dialogue becomes stilted and unnatural. Bauer's writing style veers between reserved and stiff, and the silkworm metaphor—"All their lives in a box!"—is troweled on too thickly. The Running Man, introduced early on, does not reemerge until late in the story. The explanation for Joseph's father's absence, especially as the underlying reason for the teen's reticence, is introduced so late that it merely interrupts the flow of the narrative instead of enhancing the climax. While this novel will appeal to students seeking a thoughtful psychological character study, it is marred by more telling than showing.—Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS
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Book Description HarperTeen. LIBRARY BINDING. Book Condition: New. 0061455091 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0953972