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4.0 51
by Chris Crutcher

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Bo has been at war with his father for as long as he can remember. The rage he feels gives him the energy as a triathlete to press his body to the limit, but it also translates into angry outbursts toward his teachers.

Now dangerously close to expulsion from school, Bo has been assigned to Anger Management sessions with the school "truants." With an eclectic mix


Bo has been at war with his father for as long as he can remember. The rage he feels gives him the energy as a triathlete to press his body to the limit, but it also translates into angry outbursts toward his teachers.

Now dangerously close to expulsion from school, Bo has been assigned to Anger Management sessions with the school "truants." With an eclectic mix of hard-edged students, Bo may finally have to deal with his long-brewing hatred for his father — before it eats away at him completely.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Crutcher reassembles some of the character types he used to riveting effect in his stellar Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes: a teenage misfit narrator enduring grueling athletic training; a tough heroine with a tragic past; a right-wing authoritarian heavy; enlightened teachers; and a sadistic father. At its best, the narrative crackles along in the author's inimitable style. Beauregard Brewster, a would-be Ironman triathlete, chronicles the events that ensue after he insults an oppressive teacher and is forced to take an anger-management class with other troubled students. But Crutcher's message sometimes overwhelms the cast and the story line. Beau's stern father, who has to be right at all costs-even if it means stacking the deck against his son-is one of the few fully fleshed-out characters. Many are either saintly multiculturalists (Beau's gay swimming coach, earlier met in Stotan; ``Mr. Nak'' the Japanese cowboy anger-management teacher; the black female high school principal) or, in the case of the offensive teacher, outright villains. In spite of these flaws, Crutcher achieves many memorable moments-exchanges between the students in the anger-management class, for example, are idealized but often deeply moving. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
The ALAN Review - Ted Hipple
In this really outstanding novel Crutcher revisits themes and stylistic devices that have served him well in the past. Bo Brewster, a superstar athlete, refuses to play on the school football team, prefers his individualistic triathalons, comes from a dysfunctional family, has a girlfriend with her own troubles, writes letters (to Larry King), and is described in the present tense - all major echoes of Chinese Handcuffs. Several sympathetic teachers appear here, one of them a Stotan - another echo. Thus, Ironman could profitably be used as part of a larger Crutcher unit. But it can and should be read on its own, too. It is compellingly done - an engaging and important story, brilliantly written (Crutcher at his best, which is, of course, very good), with a memorable protagonist and a distinctive cast of minor characters, and with truly provocative ideas about school, family, and personal relationships. READ THIS ONE.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up: Although slow to accept his placement in an anger-management class, triathlete Bo Brewster learns to control and develop his emotional strength. Powerful, perceptive, and wickedly funny. (Mar. 1995)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.12(h) x 0.57(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Ironman EPB

Chapter One

TO: Larry King

RE: Exclusive rights to an hour-long interview immediately prior to publication of the soon-to-be highly-sought-after memoirs of our country's future premier Ironman, Beauregard Brewster, in the year of his quest to conquer the field in Yukon Jack's Eastern Washington invitational Scabland Triathlon.


Dear Larry,

At 4:30 each morning I awaken to your voice. I lie transfixed until five-when I haul my aching body out of the sack for another in a series of infinite workoutslistening to the wise men and loons of yesterday's airways deliver opinions on everything from the hole in the ozone layer (it covers an area larger than the United States) to antidepressants (Dick Cavett and Patty Duke swear by them; Scientologists swear at them) to racism (you smell out racial prejudice like my father smells out Democrats) to the most effective methods to forever rid oneself of fat globules and cellulite (there aren't any) to the whereabouts of Elvis (Jeffrey Dahmer ate him). What I like about you is, you listen. You interview politicians and movie stars and musicians and every kind of hero and villain. And authors. When you are finally accorded the privilege of reaching across the mike to shake my sweaty hand, I'll be one of those. It's gonna be a career-making interview, Larry, and to give you full opportunity for the preparation it deserves, I've decided to leak the memoirs to you as they happen.

I am aware from your numerous comments that you have not long been such a prudent caretaker of your physical self (your heart attack set you in the right direction)and may not know that a triathlete (AKA Ironman) is a swimming, bicycling, running lunatic, willing and able to cover great distances at high speeds while enduring extreme physical pain. That's me, Lar, and you shall be privy to the circumstances surrounding my voyage beyond human physical limits in my crusade to finish Yukon Jack's E. W. Invitational Scabland extravaganza alive, and well ahead of all competitors under voting age. You should know that Yukon Jack's is not your run of the mill, rapid -stroll -through -hell event. Distances in a normal, Olympic-length triathlon are such that participants spend approximately twice as much time cycling as they do running or swimming, giving a definite edge to the good bikers. But Yukon Jack, AKA Jack McCoy, is a two-time English Channel swimmer and a three-time finisher of the Western States 100-mile ultramarathon, and he's the first person to tell you he thinks most cyclists are more interested in displaying their tight, multicolored costumes than they are in "gettin' down to some real physical exercise," so he shaved their edge off this particular event by doubling the swimming distance and halving the biking distance. All that works to my advantage because I love to train swimming and running, but whenever I ride a bike more than three blocks, I feel the need for major surgery to remove that skinny little seat.

Unfortunately, to reach the physical, spiritual, and emotional heights required to conquer this event, I must also endure my regular life and the mortals who would stand in my way. One of those mortals, not the greatest nor the least, would be Keith Redmond, my English teacher and the head football coach at Clark Fork High School. Redmond has not forgiven my cardinal sin of walking out on the football team on the second day of two-a-days this year because I took issue—quite vocally, I have to admit—with his practice of public humiliation as a motivator. I'm a bit on the skinny side, though I like to call it wiry, so you wouldn't think by looking at me that any football coach would spend more than fifteen seconds grieving my departure, but I've got some sticky fingers when it comes to hauling in the old pigskin, and Redmond was expecting league-leading numbers out of me this season. So when I took my eyes off a ball I should have caught, because I was burrowing into the grass to avoid crippling whiplash at the hands of Kyle Gifford—who mounts on his bedroom wall pictures of teammates whose seasons he has ended—Redmond stormed into my face, battering at my chest as if his index finger were a woodpecker, and demanded at maximum decibels for me to declare my gender. It was our third confrontation of the day, so I told him I was a sissy and he was an asshole, and I threw down my helmet and headed for the showers.

Looking back it was probably an overreaction, but I don't do well with degradation, and that isn't likely to change. I could have saved myself a lot of grief if I'd transferred out of Coach's Senior English class because he makes no secret about what he thinks of quitters, but I thought I owed it to him to hang around and torment him a little. it was a bad idea.

This morning Mr. Serbousek stepped into the hall between second and third periods, motioning me into his classroom. He said, "Congratulations, Brewster, you're over the top. You have my unofficial county record."

Damn. "Redmond got me suspended." it was not a question.

"Looks that way."

"How long?"

Mr. S said, "Indefinitely."

"That's a long time."

"You want the exit speech?"

"About holding my temper?"

He nodded.

"About accountability? About being seventeen years old and an infinitesimal quarter-step from adulthood?" I squinted, indicating an infinitesimal quarter-step between my thumb and forefinger. "About being held responsible for my own actions? Managing my impulses?"

Mr. S smiled. "If anyone asks, tell them I said those things."

Ironman EPB
. Copyright © by Chris Crutcher. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Chris Crutcher has written nine critically acclaimed novels, an autobiography, and two collections of short stories. Drawing on his experience as a family therapist and child protection specialist, Crutcher writes honestly about real issues facing teenagers today: making it through school, competing in sports, handling rejection and failure, and dealing with parents. He has won three lifetime achievement awards for the body of his work: the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the ALAN Award, and the NCTE National Intellectual Freedom Award. Chris Crutcher lives in Spokane, Washington.

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Ironman 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
james atkinson More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. It was a quick read i read for summer reading. I was impressed. Its not the cartoon robot. Its about a teenager the has problems but learns to get over them and be happy with his life. Ir does have alot of cussing but is still a great read.
Cougar_H More than 1 year ago
Ironman by Chris Crutcher What did I learn from this book? The author was attempting to put out plenty of lessons for teenagers. For example, the main character Bo and his father have extreme disagreements; since he could talk, he and his dad had heated arguments. An analysis of why would say that they were so much the same: stubborn, hard headed and too competitive to let the other guy win an argument. Also, Bo faces troubles with his anger. After getting in trouble for cussing out his English teacher, he is forced to join an anger management class that is rumored to have some of the scariest most dangerous kids in the school. So what did I learn? It kind of gave me some model of how I should live through my teen years. It shows how to persevere. He has to handle school, taking care of his little brother, chill with his girlfriend, work out, work, and go to the anger management class . That's a full time job if you ask me. As impressive as Bo is the most impressive thing is that with all the things he does he still gets his workouts in to train for the toughest athletic event ever made: an ironman competition. Running 26 miles, biking 100, and swimming 5 miles, he trains for months for this grueling competition. That has defiantly inspired me to work hard in the weight room, classroom, and at home. So what exactly did I learn from this book? I learned to persevere through tough times like school, training, and troubles at home. I also learned that you can handle ANYTHING with perseverance and a will to get things done.
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I am a sophomore at Holt High School reading Iron Man by Chris Crutcher. This book was recommended to me by my teacher and another student so I figured it would be a good one. I read this book for my silent reading time, and preferred it to all the other books I read this year. Iron Man is about a boy named Bo Brewster. It's interesting how the book is written; half of it is written in first person by Bo in stories to Larry King, and the other parts are a narrative written in third person. It is really interesting to read with the changing writing styles, it keeps a reader on their toes and interested. Bo gets into some trouble with the football coach and teacher Mr. Redmond when he feels he is being disrespected. He ends up in before school anger management classes with Mr. Nak, a small man with cowboy heritage. Bo was worried about what he at first believes is nothing but future serial killers; when he meets a girl he becomes quite fond of. Her name's Shelly, and she is easily twice as strong as Bo. A big Triathlon, Iron Jack's, which Bo is training for throughout the book does a great job tying all loose ends together at the end of the book, leaving the reader with that satisfied feeling. The book concentrates on different relationships; father-son relationships, teacher-student relationships, and even deals with unique relationships with friends. Other themes other then relationships that this book incorporates are determination and controlling yourself. Iron Man touches some tender subjects, often leaving you shocked and confused; but it always catches the reader's attention, and makes you want to read more and more. I would definitely recommend Iron Man to any young adult. It deals with the issues that most kids have faced or will face growing up, and most readers will easily relate to it. I am not necessarily a reading fanatic, but this book I couldn't put down. It was extremely interesting and always kept me wondering as to what would happen next. If you liked Chinese Handcuffs by Chris Crutcher, you would love this book; it deals with the same type of issues and ages of characters. Also if you like TV shows like Gossip Girl, or any other show that deals with young adults and their struggles day to day this book is perfect for you. I would give the book a four and a half star rating. It's a very interactive book that I could relate to, as could many young adults. All the characters are extremely well developed with great insight into their thoughts and backgrounds. The plot has its fair share of twists and turns always keeping the reader guessing. Overall Crutcher did an excellent job with this book. I guarantee any reader would love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Throughout his exquisite and self-mastered sports related novel, Chris Crutcher reveals a teenage male with the problems that he faces in his life. The main character of the novel, Bo Brewster, is an energetic machine when it comes to physical fitness. He is training to compete in an ironman contest, which is basically a triathlon. He is in the best of shape and trains everyday to the maximum. Throughout Bo¿s tough training, he has to deal with his cheating father, his anger management class, his rival, his girlfriend, his unjust teacher, and finding out the fact that his favorite teacher is homosexual.
His father tries to cheat Bo out of winning against his rival, Wyrack, by supplying him with the best possible bike for the triathlon. However, his anger management, through several meetings, becomes the backbone of his training. His anger management class pushes him to excel in his ironman contest. He also meets Shelly in the anger management class, who later becomes his girlfriend. Bo is usually a mellow fellow, but his unjust teacher, Mr. Redmond, puts the kettle on the front burner. He is the one who exposed Bo¿s anger and put him into the anger management class. Bo has to deal with his crazy life as well as focus on his training to compete in the triathlon and beat Wyrack¿s team. Bo has to beat Wyrack¿s team by himself in all three phases. Crutcher displays themes of karma, motivation, and support throughout the novel.
Ironman, by Chris Crutcher, is a sports fiction novel. Crutcher writes several sports fiction novel, but this novel is separate like most of the other ones by him such as Whale Talk and Running Loose. I really enjoyed this book. I am a big fan of physical fitness so I could relate to it easily. I also liked how the book was told in third person, but then Bo has his journal entries to Larry King told in first person. It made the plot easier to understand. I recommend this book to any teenager that likes sports and physical fitness. It¿ll really take you for a trip.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ironman is a great book for anyone that is involved with sports. It tells the story of a teenage boy that has problems at home and at school while training to become an ironman. The main reason that I loved this book was because I understood what he was going though and could connect with him, which I believe that many other people can as well. The one thing that is bad about the book is the slow start but after getting past that it is impossible to set down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ironman is a fantastic young adult novel, where Chris Crutcher presents characters who are struggling with issues of anger management, fear, and abuse. The main character, Bo is training to be a triathlete, an Ironman. He is a very committed athlete, however he has continually battled with certain authoritative figures in his life, one being his father. Throughout the book Bo becomes acquainted with a group of adolescents in his Anger Management group who are also struggling with problems that turn out to be similar to his own. Bo¿s character was very well developed, and his perseverance throughout the triathlon was compelling. Within this book the characters have learned to stand up to their fears and as a result have become stronger. This book really represents the highs and lows of the different characters. This storyline was great because Chris Crutcher not only writes about the triathlon, but revealed the deeper issues of his characters. Ironman was comical in some parts, but really portrayed the struggles that many teenagers face within their school and at home.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a really good book. it starts out kind of slow, especially if u want to read a book about becoming an ironman, but with some additional plotline twists, (and Larry King) this book really gets to you. it's not a large plot, but its addicting. one of the best books i've read in a while.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ironman is an outstanding book for athletes in high school, both boys and girls. Bo is a high school student training to compete in a triathlon. Bo gets into a little trouble with his former football coach and is sent to anger management, where he meets some pretty cool friends. Anger management, his only source of supportthrough the triathlon, helps Bo find out who he really is!I give this book four stars because it is motivating and inspiring for those who want to reach their goals. Ironman is a very easy book to read. It gives you a very clear picture of what's goin on in the book. It gets you up close to the character's lives and personal problems, and as a high school student it's very easy to relate to. Ironman is a magnificent read for those in jr. high and high school.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its a very good book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ironman was a book i thought would be boring and a book i would never want to read till my teacher suggested i should read it so i did, And it turned out to be a very interesting book to read. It shows you how someone struggles with their life while their parents are seperated and it is very hard for him to go on but he does it and i am glad he did. It is a good book and it is very intersting on how you think one way and it turns out to be the opposite.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bo Brewster is a seventeen year old who is trying to over- come many struggles in his life. He is dealing with many different problems including constant disagreements with his father, and also with his English teacher Mr. Redmond. Beauregard is also training to be a tri-athlete. Bo works out everyday, works two jobs, and also transports his younger brother, Jordan between his split parents households. When training in the University swimming pool, Bo also makes another enemy. His name is Ian W. I believe the reason Ian has a problem with Bo is because he is intimidated by him. For once, Ian has a challenge in the pool. Beauregard is also put into an anger management class, because of problems in Mr. Redmond¿s Class. Here, he meets a girl named Shelly, who¿s dream is to one day become a Gladiator. Shelly also does not get along with Ian. A bet is made is made and Ian gathers his buddies in hopes of defeating Bo in the triathlon he enters. Bo¿s father is also against him. Mr. Brewster helps out the team by buying on of the team members a five hundred dollar bike to win the race. All of this is done because Bo¿s father feels he needs to prove a point to his son that he never accomplishes anything. Bo pulls through and ends up beating Ian and his friends in the triathlon. In the Book Iron Man, by Chris Crutcher, the author re-uses characters from other stories. In another review on Iron Man, it was written that this particular person liked Chris Crutchers style of writing. I do agree with this opinion. This is because I enjoy the authors way of using letters to tell parts of the story. Also, the way the author makes the books so modern. Chris Crutcher uses words and phrases in a way that most teenagers use today. However, I do not agree when it is written that Chris Crutcher overwhelms the story line and cast with all that he puts into his story. In my opinion, this only kept me, as the reader, hooked on the story. Adding different problems to the story only made it more interesting and encouraged me to read on.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ironman is a very well put together story. The characters and the storyline mesh very well together. Its message isn¿t truly and wholly known until the end, where it all seems to tie together. The characters are very well thought out and their actions seem to come to life. You feel as though you are part of the story, with the characters and you get attached to the main character Bo. All in all I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good meaningful message.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Many reviews stated that there were flaws in Chris Crutcher¿s writing I on the other hand disagree. I believe that Crutcher did a flawless job catching the characters emotions and making the characters really believable. I enjoyed the writing techniques, the story line, and everything over all. The stricter was amazing, and the book kept me on my toes. There was always drama and different emotions flying around. There was never a dull moment in ironman¿s life, or anyone else¿s in that matter. I feel that ironman was a great piece of wring and shows just how talented Chris really is. The usage of letters to show what Bo was feeling that day or what his thought were was brilliant in my opinion. It got all of his points across in a clever, but clear way. The whole book was just so heart whelming. To think that there are other real life kids that is in very similar situations is heart wrenching. There are actually kids that I go to school with that is carrying such secret burdens. He was so in depth of everyone¿s feeling and he had great techniques and used brilliant similes. I feel that the author did an outstanding job and the story was just so touching!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Beauregard Brewster is in high school with some issues. He and his father¿s relationship have been shaky, and his English teacher and football coach, Mr. Redmond, picks on Bo. This causes him to talk back, and so he is sent to anger management with Mr. Nak. During all of this, Bo is training to be in Yukon Jack¿s Triathlon. He is also pouring out his feelings on paper as he writes to Larry King. Although these letters are unsent, Bo talks about his dreams, his problems, and his anger in them. Bo also has a bully, Ian Wyrack, during his training, which stirs up more fury inside him. In anger management, though, Bo is able to talk about his situations to someone other than writing letters to a talk show host who he hasn¿t even sent them to. In anger management, at first, Bo didn¿t really talk about his feelings or problems because he thought anger management was full of kids who were horrible and scary. He didn¿t think he belonged there and he thought he was wasting his time, even though in the long run, these kids would end up helping him. During anger management, Bo learned about each person¿s past. He heard about things that were wrong with their lives now, and as time went on, Bo seemed to know them better, he opened up to them. And as he heard all of the kids¿ different stories, I felt it gave him more determination for the triathlon. All of his friends from anger management helped his train and supported him. His father, on the other hand, wasn¿t all that supportive. He told Bo he should just quit because he would fail, and even helped out Bo¿s opponent. Despite all of those problems, Bo still had his mind set on his goal. This book was great. Learning about all of the kids¿ pasts made me think how things like that are happening in the world. It also made me appreciate my family, friends, and my life so much more than I did before. It also made me more determined to get reach my goals, too, knowing that Bo reached his throughout the stresses in his life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bo Brewster is a high school student kid who has many problems throughout his life. It starts in his family, and then moves on into his school career. Starting at a young age Bo and his father have had problems, but now they just keep getting worse and worse. At school he was sent to anger management that is where he met Mr. Nak and his pack. Mr. Nak accepted Bo right away, but it took a lot longer for the group to accept him. Throughout this class Bo met some very interesting people that helped him out with everything. Since he met some true friends in there, he simply didn¿t want to go and leave his friends. Training for the triathlon was Bo¿s number one priority through this book though. While training for this event, he did everything he could do to stay in shape, which meant he practiced in any weather condition. Most people were very supportive, and some people weren¿t as much. During his trainings, his dad turns against him and helps his main component. He also writes unsent letters to Larry King (an adult that Bo thinks will listen to him.) Dealing with the triathlon, his dad, anger management, Bo never gives up and keeps going. This was a good book that people can relate too in real life whether it might be a family problem, school problem, or someone who has a lot of anger. Since people can relate to it, I think that¿s why people should read this type of novel. I enjoyed reading Ironman because of this reason.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Iron man is a complex yet cunning blend of all sorts of emotions that draw you deep into the story, making you feel as if you are right there in front of the characters. Tragedy, happiness, resentment, humor, and tragedy are all the right elements in a good story and each emotion are brilliantly described. All the characters have different personalities that influence certain behavior and reactions. A good read if you like a book that includes obstacles that are stacked against the main character. In this case Beauregard Brewster is a striving tri-athlete wanting to become the winner of Yukon Jack¿s Iron man competition. Throughout the story he faces problems with his family, school life, and his own personality. Some problems that occur are that his father tries to stack the odds against him even though he really wants to become the winner. In my opinion his problems may be identical to some people¿s childhood life because some parents want their children to fail just to learn a lesson. The main character is someone whom you may resemble because of his strong personal beliefs and actions. Iron man is a fascinating piece of work that includes the right amount of realistic events and controversies. Chris Crutcher out did himself with this novel Iron man, which include the right amount of emotion and action. A story to be remembered for years to come, Chris Crutcher¿s novel is given a nine out of ten by Publisher¿s Weekly. A roller coaster filled with ups and downs from fights to romances, Iron man has it all. Issues were presented that would probably surprise readers by its content. Not a child friendly book because of some obscene content. A real masterpiece which includes eclectic personalities that inspires readers to succeed by Bo¿s determination. Iron man is an exceptional story that includes all the right characteristics to which makes it a great read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With many details and descriptive events, I believe Ironman is a very well-written novel. Crutcher provides very descriptive details about the lives and events of each and every character in the book. For example, he includes deep information regarding Shelly¿s past to help readers conceive her dreadful up-bringing. Also, his in-depth use of figurative language and knowledge of language arts combine to create a masterpiece, in my eyes. The imagery in which Crutcher offers allowed me to easily visualize the details of the setting in the book. Furthermore, I liked how, by reading this book, I realized the harsh reality of people¿s lives, and I think that Chris Crutcher depicted a well-composed story line in Ironman. He presented masses of unique affairs and happenings, all in which affected my thoughts differently. With all of the stated qualities that Crutcher reveals, I believe that Ironman was an innovative and profound piece of literature.