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Lean on Pete: A Novel Paperback – April 13, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Reading this is by turns a humbling, heartbreaking and harrowing experience. Excellent.
The work seems really simple in the structure as a whole and in the clean style of writing, yet the impact it had on me was far more powerful than this simplicity might normally allow.
Before the novel begins, there's a quote from John Steinbeck:
`It is true that we are weak and sick and ugly and quarrelsome but if that is all we ever were, we would millenniums ago have disappeared from the face of the earth.'
I mention this because it has been perfectly selected for a book that reflects something of that tone all the way through.
Charley Thompson has grown up in a single-parent family with his father at the helm. His father, a loving and kind one in many ways, is unreliable, unpredictable and liable to leave Charlie for days on end to fend for himself. This leaves Charley with the TV and the movie screen for company, cans of food to eat and a desire to run and keep fit so that he can keep alive his hopes of playing football. Football seems to allow Charley to feel part of something bigger than himself. To provide him with a family that works together. It's important.
This immediately resonates and creates emotional waves. A human adults need sex, shelter and food to exist and surely human children need food, shelter, companionship and nurturing to survive; because Charley has been stripped of some of these, it's impossible not to feel for him from the outset.
As he moves through the days, he stumbles into a job at the track working for a shady trainer and his horses.Read more ›
This is my first book by Vlautin, but I plan to check out his others now.
Have a box of tissues ready for yourself while you read this one. Willy Vlautin knows people and knows how to hit you hard in your heart and your head. He is such a wonderful writer, touching on every emotion known to mankind and writing a book that is tough, hard, gritty, true to life, down to earth. I am this man's number one fan. Seriously.
We meet Charley Thompson, fifteen, who lives with his dad in Portland. Charley is a good kid. All he wants is a family to love and to love him, food on the table, go to high school, and play football. He wants a 'normal' life. While Charley and his dad love each other, Charley is pretty much on his own. His dad just doesn't stick around or know how to parent. After a horrible incident takes place, Charley is forced to run and leave his home. He ends up finding a place to hide and live; a horse track not too far from where he was living. There he meets up with Del who works at the track running horses. Charley meets and falls in love with Del's horse, Lean on Pete. So did I.
Mishap after mishap occurs, and Charley is still on his own, stealing food, living and sleeping in dumpsters, but still works at the horse track. Charley and Del form an uneasy and unreliable friendship and Charley learns much about horses and the track. He runs into all sorts of seedy characters, meets some wonderful horses, and if it weren't for bad luck, Charley would have no luck at all.
Things happen and Charley is again on the run. He constantly ends up in the worst of neighborhoods and situations, depending on the kindness of strangers and relying on his wits and street smarts. Charley's main goal is to find his aunt who lives thousands of miles away in Wyoming. His trip is a tough one.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved the story and the characters. Read the book in a day and a half. I hated to see it end.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
The simplicity in the first person narrative at first seemed stilted and undeveloped. Then I realized, it's the perfect way to display the character and his lack of emotional and... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Matt Gifford
It’s very rare that I stop reading in the middle of a novel and turn back to the beginning to see if the author has written any other books. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
It was so different than what I usually read, but I did enjoy the characters........their struggles and hopefully, their victories.Published 15 months ago by Ann Black
Not only a great novel, but an important one. Vlautin puts a human face on the struggles of extreme poverty in a way that will stick with you long after you've finished this book.Published 16 months ago by Tyler Johnson
I could not put it down and after I finished I thought I was disappointed.AsI have had time to reflect, this is a good book on tenacity, the desire to survive, and the search for... Read morePublished 16 months ago by PJS
Willy Vlautin’s style is calm and clear-eyed. Zero flash. The prose is dry-eyed.
The opening lines: “When I woke up that morning it was still pretty early. Read more
A surprisingly engrossing coming of age story. Charley Thompson, the main character, lives with his Dad, who leaves 15 year old Charley pretty much on his own. Read morePublished 18 months ago by J. Brunkal