The Contender by Robert Lipsyte

November 18, 2016
By , wilmington, DE

The Contender written by Robert Lipsyte. This book is based on fiction and the setting takes place in Harlem,New York. It's about a young man named Alfred who dropped out of high school and works at a grocery store full time. His father walked out on him when he was very young , and his mother died, and since then he has been living with his aunt and her two daughters for a while in a small apartment. He has this childhood friend named James, who dropped out of school a few months later after Alfred did, but instead, he doesn't have a job, he hangs around gang members and makes all the wrong decisions, soon he becomes a drug addict and his relationship with Alfred crumbles. After James gets caught robbing the store Alfred works at and is thrown into jail, Alfred gets into the boxing business. 


Alfred is a young african american adult that has nothing going for him in life and really doesn't care where his future is heading, but soon he starts to realize that he needs to make a change in his life after his best friend gets addicted to drugs and gets arrested. He gets beat up by two of james's friends over a misunderstanding and since he was completely defenseless, he decided to join a boxing gym after passing it one night when he was thinking about his whole life and his future. He meets this guy in the gym, Mr. Donatelli, who becomes his manager. Everything starts out well in the gym, with a daily routine and a diet that Mr. Donatelli starts him off with. Then when Alfred is prepared enough to step out into the ring he wins a few fights at first but after he starts losing match after match Mr. Donatelli faith in him starts fading away and things starts going down hill for Alfred.

Its an extraordinary story, in my opinion, I was so intrigued the second I started reading. The only thing that I didn't like about the book is that it’s a cliffhanger it leaves me wondering what's going to happen next, there was actually some parts that drifted off topic and had nothing to do with the story but overall, it is a quick and easy book to read. Their are some life lesson that you can learn from this book, you can almost relate to this story because it deals with some real life situations that happens in the real world it shows that it doesn't matter where you come from it's what you do with your life and the choices you make. It also shows that with ambition you can conquer whatever you desire to be. Also how determined you can be to help somebody else, take Alfreds and James situation for example, even though their relationship fell apart, Alfred started thinking about how James was their a lot of Alfred when he was having problems so Alfred took whatever it takes to help his best friend get off of the drugs every step of the way.

I could relate to this book because I come from the hood similar to his and I've seen people all around me, doing drugs, alcoholics, and  gang members, I've seen it all and I would look at these people like I do not want to be one of them. This book demonstrates how somebody who’s from the hood, has a lot of bad influence happening around him, struggles in life and doesnt have nothing going for him can still make good choices in life. That's why almost anybody can relate to this story. He wanted to prove everybody wrong and to show that he could make something out of himself because he felt like he could and he believed in himself. Having so much people try to put you down and talk you out of doing what you wanna do is harsh but all it takes is for you to block it out and keep on doing what you want to do to prove people wrong.

I would Recommend this book to somebody who for example wants to be a boxer because it has to do with that sport and also for some motivation because everybody around Alfred was telling him that he was wasting his time with boxing and that he wouldn't last long in the business and saying a other negative things trying to get him to quit boxing, but Alfred didn't let that bring him down. For you to accomplish your goals you got to believe in yourself and to not let people bring you down. Alfred didn't let people influence him into making bad decisions but his friend did and that's what made him go harder because he seen his friend go down the wrong path and he didn't want to end up like him. Living in the hood doesn't mean that you have to be a gang member, on drugs and doing all the wrong things. There's opportunity for everybody to achieve you just need the knowledge, the confidence and the ambition to reach your goal.

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