Thursday, February 18, 2010
Running Man (YA)
Running Man. Michael Gerard Bauer. 2008. HarperCollins. 304 pages.
Joseph fixed his eyes on the coffin and thought of silkworms.
Joseph is fourteen and afraid of The Running Man, a strange local man who has haunted his dreams for years now. Fear is funny like that. Sometimes you fear the wrong things. Not that The Running Man isn't strange. He is. But in all his years, Joseph has never thought about why the Running Man runs. He's never put himself in the Running Man's shoes, so to speak. But as another strange relationship develops, Joseph is learning more about himself and more about the world around him, the people around him.
It all starts with an art project. Joseph has to draw someone, anyone. And his neighbor, Caroline, hopes that he will choose her brother, Tom, to be his subject. Tom is a Vietnam veteran, a recluse these days. Joseph has heard a few strange things about Tom, though he's never seen him, so he's never given him much thought. "Over time, Tom Leyton became for Joseph an accepted unknown, like the dark interior of a house passed by every day but not entered." (7) Still, when she first approaches Joseph with the idea, well, he's not open to it. But that changes. It becomes almost a dare to him to choose Tom Leyton.
What can Joseph learn from Tom? What can Tom learn from Joseph?
This is a compelling coming-of-age story. It definitely reminded me of To Kill A Mockingbird.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews