Ironman by Chris Crutcher

Bibliographic information: Ironman. Chris Crutcher. Greenwillow Books, 1995. $8.99. 279p. ISBN-13:  9780060598402.
Summary: Bo is a triathlete who can’t seem to hold his anger in check, especially when it comes to his father. After one too many outburst while he is training hard to compete in the Yukon Jack Ironman Triathlon, he is forced to take an anger management class to help get his act together. While at the class he writes letters to Larry King and meets a new teacher and other classmates who help and support him in training for the up coming triathlon.
Reading level and interest level: RL: 12 and up IL: 14 and up
Review: Written in a unique way that catches the reader’s attention this book is told mainly through the letters written to Larry King, the CNN talk-showman, the rest is written in a thirst person narrative that is traditional to a Crutcher novel. Crutcher does a great job on building his characters throughout the story, especially Bo who learns how to control his anger and makes new unexpected friends. Although Crutcher touches on some sensitive topics he handles them well and writes with feeling that will reach out to struggling teens in similar situations. A must read for all young adults.
Readers’ annotation: Will Bo be able to get his act together in time for the big triathlon?
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This would be a great book for children who have anger issues, especially with their parents. It will show them how they can work out their anger in a proper way. It is also a great source for children who are struggling with their feelings on homosexuality because Crutcher does a wonderful job on putting the issue out there and making it seem like no big deal while he explains the situation. Lastly, it has great motivation for someone who is interested in sports or training.
Issues present: There is violence, child abuse, divorce, homosexuality, adoption and pornographic writing. However, these are all real issues that occur to children everyday, everywhere. Having a good book to read about the situations will help the child cope and understand their situation better.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Bo’s character.
Passages from pages 248-249 will show Bo’s character and who he has become.
Pg 259 – the second full paragraph and the one preceding show the excitement of the Ironman race.
Genre or subject: realistic fiction: Sports, child abuse, GLBTQ, and anger/violence
Readalikes: Other Crutcher novels, Murdock books, Leverage, Raiders Night.
Author’s website:
Awards: Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (1996); Best Books for Young Adults (1996)
Reviews: School Library Journal:; Publisher’s Weekly:
Why I chose it: I liked the idea that the book takes place in Spokane, Washington where I live. I always like to see how the author portrays my hometown.


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Filed under Anger/Violence, GLBTQ, Toxic parents and teachers

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