The Contender is a book by Robert Lipsyte about a boy Alfred Brooks who has dropped out of high school and is working for minimum wage at a grocery store. His best friend is getting involved and drugs and slowly becoming addicted. Alfred was one day told to start going to a boxing gym to get training and so he can protect himself since he lives in Harlem New York. Alfred’s trainer, Mr. Donatelli made Alfred train for a long time before Alfred was actually was able to fight. During his training he wanted to quit, but he would always go back to the gym wanting to train and get better. Alfred finally got his chance to fight and he did well and he also did well in his second fight. In his third fight, he knew he was going to fight someone good and didn’t do so well. After that fight, Donatelli told him that he should retire.
I liked how Lipsyte established a connection between Alfred and his love of boxing. As the reader you could see the love that Alfred gained his love for the sport of boxing. None of his sentences felt dragged on. Lipsyte implemented early in the story that Alfred was another boy from Harlem who wasn’t going to go anywhere anytime soon but changed his life. I liked the book and I would recommend it to people who want a book that will show you how life is in Harlem and neighborhoods that have high crime.