IRONMAN by Chris Crutcher


Age Range: 12 & up
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 A teenager holds the moral high ground, but doesn't know what to do there until wise advice sets him straight. Bo Brewster has already taken years of bullying from his father; when his football coach/English teacher tries the same tactics, Bo leaves the team, blows up in class, and winds up forced to join an early morning anger management group to stay in school. As both personal test and statement, he also begins to train intensively for Yukon Jack's Eastern Washington Invitational Scab- Land Triathlon. Crutcher's background as a family therapist comes out on nearly every page here, as Bo writes analytical letters to talk-show royalty Larry King, conversations within the group become confessions, and the presiding teacher--cast as a drawling Texan ex-bronco rider of Japanese descent--dispenses perceptive comments about anger, fear and self-knowledge. Bo is surrounded by a colorful array of sages (including Lion Serbousek, baddest of the bad in Stotan!, Greenwillow, 1986, and now, ironically, a school counsellor who is gay), jerks and journeymen adults with damaged souls--most of whom are groping their way toward maturity. As always, Crutcher tells a potent, well-knit story, with moments both horrific and hilarious, and a cathartic but not unrealistic ending. Less intense than Staying Fat For Sarah Byrnes (Greenwillow, 1993), this is still strong enough to carry its messages with reasonable ease. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-688-13503-X
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1995


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