THE CHIEF by Robert Lipsyte


Age Range: 12 & up
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 In a third episode, larger-than-life boxer Sonny Bear fights battles in and out of the ring--and within himself--on his climb to the top. Cheated of his amateur title at the end of The Brave (1991) and disgusted by a series of crooked local fights, Sonny is ready to throw in the towel when he lands a job as sparring partner for an aging boxer making a quixotic comeback attempt. The resulting press attention takes him to L.A. and TV producers' fantasyland, but he turns away from the life of a lotus-eater to solve a violent dispute over legalized gambling back on the reservation. Part of the ensuing compromise is a scheduled bout with the heavyweight champ at the new casino. Sonny's rise to fame is seen through the eyes of Martin Witherspoon, an overweight black college student and would-be writer who, like his well-muscled friend, wrestles with self-doubt but rises to the occasion at need. Sports-journalist Lipsyte writes authoritatively about the world of boxing, moving his story at a headlong pace with pulse-pounding action scenes and providing characters with cocky dialogue; by concluding moments before Sonny enters the ring, he forces readers to consider his larger themes. Memorable sports fiction. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: May 30th, 1993
ISBN: 0-06-021064-8
Page count: 226pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1993


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