Lean on Pete

( 11 )

Overview

Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson wants a home, food on the table, and a high school he can attend for more than part of a year. But as the son of a single father working in warehouses across the Pacific Northwest, Charley's been pretty much on his own. When tragic events leave him homeless weeks after their move to Portland, Oregon, Charley seeks refuge in the tack room of a run-down horse track. Charley's only comforts are his friendship with a failing racehorse named Lean on Pete and a photograph of his only ...

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Lean on Pete

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Overview

Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson wants a home, food on the table, and a high school he can attend for more than part of a year. But as the son of a single father working in warehouses across the Pacific Northwest, Charley's been pretty much on his own. When tragic events leave him homeless weeks after their move to Portland, Oregon, Charley seeks refuge in the tack room of a run-down horse track. Charley's only comforts are his friendship with a failing racehorse named Lean on Pete and a photograph of his only known relative. In an increasingly desperate circumstance, Charley will head east, hoping to find his aunt who had once lived a thousand miles away in Wyoming—but the journey to find her will be a perilous one.

In Vlautin's third novel, Lean on Pete, he reveals the lives and choices of American youth like Charley Thompson who were failed by those meant to protect them and who were never allowed the chance to just be a kid.

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Editorial Reviews

Sunday Mercury
“Willy Vlautin, plumbs the depths of despair but finally rewards you with redemption.”
(FIVE STARS) - Uncut Magazine
"Spare and unadorned, but nevertheless poetic...full of boundless compassion for the dispossessed and rootless."
Seattle Times
“The writing is spare and straightforward…There is intensity in Vlautin’s narration, and also beauty and power…Vlautin’s major accomplishment lies in posing a damning question: How could we, as a society, have allowed this to happen?”
Independent Extra
“An archetypal American novel, Huck Finn for the crystal-meth generation...a sad, often brutal, but oddly beautiful portrait of an America that’s forgotten only because we choose not to remember its continuing existence.”
Bookseller (London)
“Arguably his best so far…If you like melancholy Americana Vlautin’s writing is for you.”
The List
“For anyone with a sentimental attachment to beasts of an equine nature, a river of tears awaits.”
Sunday Herald
“Lean on Pete confirms his status as one of the most emotionally charged writers in America… Vlautin’s characters, memorable however curtailed their cameos might be, become a sketchbook of America…The band has to be a hobby now. Vlautin is a writer.”
New Statesman
“Among my favourite novels of the year have been Willy Vlautin’s Lean on Pete which is possibly his bleakest yet.”
Sarah Hall
“Willy Vlautin’s novels are clean as a bone, companionable, and profound. He is a master at paring loneliness and longing from his characters, issuing them through downturns, trials and transience without starving their humanity, and always sustaining them, and the reader, with ordinary hope.“
Barry Gifford
“Lean on Pete reminds me of the best parts of Gus Van Sant’s beautiful film My Own Private Idaho. Willy’s voice is pure and his stories universal. He never loses hope or heart and I believe every word he’s written.”
Mark Billingham
“The comparisons with Steinbeck and Carver are richly deserved, yet Vlautin is a truly original voice…powerful, heartbreaking stuff. Just three novels in and Vlautin is already one of the best writers in America.”
Hannah Tinti
“Reading Willy Vlautin is like jumping into a clear, cold lake in the middle of summer. His prose is beautifully spare and clean, but underneath the surface lies an incredible depth, with all kinds of hidden stories and emotions resting in the shadows.”
Uncut Magazine (FIVE STARS)
“Spare and unadorned, but nevertheless poetic...full of boundless compassion for the dispossessed and rootless.”
Uncut Magazine (FIVE STARS)
“Spare and unadorned, but nevertheless poetic...full of boundless compassion for the dispossessed and rootless.”
Sunday Mercury
“Willy Vlautin, plumbs the depths of despair but finally rewards you with redemption.”
Seattle Times
“The writing is spare and straightforward…There is intensity in Vlautin’s narration, and also beauty and power…Vlautin’s major accomplishment lies in posing a damning question: How could we, as a society, have allowed this to happen?”
Independent Extra
“An archetypal American novel, Huck Finn for the crystal-meth generation...a sad, often brutal, but oddly beautiful portrait of an America that’s forgotten only because we choose not to remember its continuing existence.”
Publishers Weekly
A blend of road novel and not-quite hard luck story, the latest from Vlautin (The Motel Life) begins when 15-year-old Charley Thompson and his father move from Spokane, Wash. to Portland, Ore., to give starting over yet another try. When Charley’s dad takes up with a married secretary and stops coming home, Charley takes a job with Del Montgomery, a crank based out of the nearby racetrack who, among other things, shoots up a horse with vodka. After Charley’s father dies from wounds suffered during a fight with his lover’s husband, Charley, whom Vlautin has conveniently given the pastime of running, runs away with Pete, a horse and his only friend. This is where the narrative sours; Charley’s trek across the West, occasionally on horseback, is dominated by an unbelievable stretch of luck: men appear to dispense food and money, miraculously uninhabited trailers contain washers and dryers, and his hitchhiking is eerie, but not dangerous. Still, Vlautin’s characters, despite their unrealistic arcs, shine with his sparse style. It might be difficult to believe Charley’s bottomless cache of silver linings, but it’s remarkably easy to root for the kid. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061456534
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/13/2010
  • Series: P.S. Series
  • Pages: 277
  • Sales rank: 341,393
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Willy Vlautin is the author of The Motel Life, Northline, and Lean on Pete, and the singer and songwriter of the band Richmond Fontaine. He lives outside Portland, Oregon.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2010

    Completely Organic

    This book was written in such raw authentic language that it felt more like Willy was talking to me through the page. He loves to take passive characters and make us root for them. Reading his books is like walking through a mirror and watching from the other side. I love everything he has written so far and can't wait for more.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Lean On Pete

    At first, I didn't know what to think of Lean On Pete by Willy Vlautin. I was reading through the eyes of fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson and it felt like a fifteen year-old was writing it. But when the story started rolling and we get to see what Charlie is going through as he become lost in the world he is living with his father, then alone and trying to find his aunt. All he wants is to be loved and cared for. He wants a family and a chance to play football. He struggles helplessly as he travels through various states to locate his aunt, hungry and alone. This story, although depressing, is heart wrenching and enjoyable.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A good reading experience

    When his dad decides to start over for the zillionth time, fifteen year old Charley Thompson relocates with him from Spokane, Washington. However, shortly after moving to Portland, Oregon, Charley's irresponsible father deserts him to move in with a married woman. Soon afterward the woman's husband kills Charley's dad.

    Charley obtains a job working for Del Montgomery at Delta Park racetrack. However, watching what Del does to the thoroughbreds upsets Charley more than his dad's death especially when he learns his employer plans to sell his only friend Pete to people who will kill the horse. Deciding nothing is there to keep him in Portland, Charley steals Pete to keep him safe. Together they flee the Pacific Northwest.

    Although Charley seems to have incredible luck on his trek with people helping him and Pete providing money, food and shelter without asking questions of why a young teen was .on his own; when no one is there shelter still is easily available. Putting aside the realism probability (Vegas would take Charley and Pete off the board), fans will enjoy his plight and flight as readers will cheer the lad on while knowing all he wants is to be part of a loving family.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 3, 2012

    All Charley, age 15, wanted was a home, family, food on the tab

    All Charley, age 15, wanted was a home, family, food on the table and a chance to play football. All Charley got was an empty house most of the time, a dad who drank and didn't come home even when he could, no food which lead Charley to meet Del. Now Del was a cheat, a liar, a drinker, and a cheater, Del also had a hourse named Pete. Charley met Pet when he went to work with Del, he needed money to eat. Then his dad was in a bad accident, well not exactly an accident, and had to ber hospitalized. Now Charley was really alone. He had an aunt whom he loved and he though she loved him. But that was when he was 11 and his dad said she didn't love him any more. He didn't even know where she lived. You will be amazed the see how resourceful Charley becomes and he grows into a young man with a lot of lessons to learn. You won't be sorry you bought this book. Took me a little to get into it, but then I couldn't put it down. I had to get use to writing like Charley was telling me his story. After I got use to his writing style, this is a sad but heart warming story. The love of a horse named Pete and a young man named Charley.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2013

    I was so impressed by this tale that I went on to buy all his ot

    I was so impressed by this tale that I went on to buy all his others. It's sparse and packed with story, but the character of the protagonist is super strong and you'll be rooting for him from the off, I promise. I has the simple, young adult feel of some of SE Hinton in some ways, but there are moments that are graphic which make this a very adult read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2010

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    Posted May 12, 2014

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    Posted May 8, 2010

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    Posted August 29, 2010

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