Robert Lipsyte The Contender

ISBN 13: 9781435232891

The Contender

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9781435232891: The Contender
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Book by Lipsyte, Robert

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Alfred's life is going nowhere fast. He's a high-school dropout working at a grocery store. His best friend is drifting behind a haze of drugs and violence, and now some street punks are harassing him for something he didn't do. Feeling powerless and afraid, Alfred gathers up the courage to visit Donatelli's Gym, the neighborhood's boxing club. He wants to be a champion--on the streets and in his own life. Alfred doesn't quite understand when Mr. Donatelli tells him, "It's the climbing that makes the man. Getting to the top is an extra reward." In the end, he learns that a winner isn't necessarily the one standing when the fight is over. Teens and adults alike will be knocked out by this powerful story of how a frightened boy becomes a man.

From the Back Cover:

There were three flights of dark, rickety stairs up to Donatelli's Gym, a Harlem boxing club where champions had trained. Most of the boys, black and white, came up those stairs in the daytime and with friends. But Alfred Brooks, a seventeen-year-old high school drop-out, climbed them at night, alone and running scared.

Down on the hot streets the punks were after him, and maybe the police, too. His best friend was sinking into the twilight life of narcotics addiction. The widowed aunt who bad taken him in when his mother died was asking too many questions. And the job in the grocery store felt more and more like a one-way ride to nowhere. The world that Alfred bad been drifting through sud-denly began to close in on him.

The only way out was up -- up the treacherous stairs, into the large, murky room where he began to learn that it's the climbing that makes the man -- the gut-wrenching second effort, the dawn run, the will to get back on your feet after you've been knocked down.

Alfred Brooks learns that getting to the top isn't as important as how you get there, and that before you can be a champion, you have to be a contender.

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