Friday, May 08, 2020
FFB: LEAN ON PETE, Willie Vlautin
This is my second Willie Vlautin novel and I can't wait to read the next two. Of course, I am ordering way too many books lately. The libraries being closed is a real hardship.
Anyway, Charlie's life is a hard one. His father is more interested in women and drink although he is not abusive. But an altercation, puts Charlie on the road and he finds work (he is fifteen) at a racetrack. Lean on Pete, is not really a race horse but is pressed into racing to support his owner. When it looks like that owner is going to sell him off, Charlie and Pete take off to try and find Charlie's aunt in Montana. It is a long trip and filled with bad men, loose women, hardship, and low-paying jobs that often end up not paying at all. A runaway has little to bargain with. More than once, Charlie is caught and put into foster homes, detention centers, police stations. And Pete's fate isn't any better.
Vlautin has a great writing style. It is plain and perfectly captures the thought process of Charlie. Charlie tells the reader everything he eats, thinks, does. Although there are few descriptive passages, we know exactly what he is seeing on the long road to Montana. He tells us what people look like down to the socks on their feet.
A second winner from a great writer.