The turbulent, literally trying senior year of Louie Banks of Trout, Idaho, who has worked out vigorously over the summer...

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RUNNING LOOSE

The turbulent, literally trying senior year of Louie Banks of Trout, Idaho, who has worked out vigorously over the summer and is rewarded with a starting place on the eight-man football team and a cheerleader girlfriend, smart and pretty newcomer Becky, who could have any guy in school but walks tight up and asks Louie for a date. Then, with the Trout team aiming for its third straight state championship season, nearby Salmon Lake gets a transfer from California, a black kid named Washington who's a super athlete. Trout's coach lets his team know that ""I want that Washington kid out of the garner Early!""--and that ""the only way you can stop. . . those blacks. . . is to hurt 'em."" So when the two teams meet, Trout's vicious Boomer slams Washington into a bench. Loule protests; the ref and the coach play dumb; and Louie quits the team. There's some fallout at school but his parents and Becky back him up and life goes on . . . until Becky is killed in a car accident and Louie, beside himself, makes another scene by lashing out at the sanctimonious imported preacher at her funeral. Loule never does surrender to the forces of hypocrisy, but his next act of resistance is better calculated, and his last impetuous outburst, embracing his father who is handing out diplomas at graduation, is a more positive one. Meanwhile he achieves some victories in a therapeutic track season: just getting him on the team takes courage and commitment from the young assistant coach, who admired Louie's earlier stand; and Louie goes on to an all-out, prodigious victory over Washington, an all-round winner who is running Louie's event, the two-mile, more-or-less on the side. Loule tells his story with' strong feeling and no crap, as he might say. Perhaps the weakest element in the novel is Becky, a young man's dream of love and sweet reason. But as a dramatic, head-first confrontation with mendacity, fate's punches, and learning to cope, it's a zinger.

Pub Date: April 18, 1983

ISBN: 0060094915

Page Count: -

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1983