Willy Vlautin is the frontman of a band called Richmond Fontaine who also writes novels. Lean on Pete is his third such book. It introduces us to Charley Thompson, a 15 year old boy who lives an unsettled life with his dad. Pretty much left to his own devices and uprooted from his previous life in Spokane, Charley tries to make the best of things. He pines for his old home and friends while doing his best to stock a fridge that is as neglected as himself. His dad isn't a bad sort but doesn't make spending time with his son a high priority. Charley just wants a bit of stability in his life. He doesn't get it. Tragedy and bad luck dog the boy's steps from page to page and an already introverted personality starts to slide. The book charts an emotional and fraught journey as Charley takes responsibility for a no-hope race horse called Pete. It's all told in a spare and economical first person, with the eye and imagination of a 15 year old. Is there no hope for Charley? Can he save Pete? There is only one way to find out.
This review is from an uncorrected proof.
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