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Running Full Tilt

  • Livre Relié
  • 336 Nombre de pages
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By the time Leo is a junior, his family has moved three times due to his older brother, Caleb, who has autism and other cognitive ... Lire la suite
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By the time Leo is a junior, his family has moved three times due to his older brother, Caleb, who has autism and other cognitive disabilities. Leo has grown accustomed to his brother’s lower functioning behavior, but Caleb is now prone to attacking Leo physically for unknown reasons. Leo literally starts long-distance running to get away from Caleb. The exercise soothes Leo, and it gives Caleb time to cool down. When Leo starts his new school, he signs up for cross-country track and finds friendship and guidance from senior team member Curtis and Coach Gorsky, as well as romance with Mary, an art student. The exhilaration of running and his social outlets balance his homelife, where Caleb constantly yells a litany of questions and his parents fight more and more, and provide him with coping mechanisms. But when tragedy strikes, Leo and his family face some hard truths. The writing is low-key; Leo has learned to rein in his emotions and feelings about Caleb, and the first-person narrative demonstrates this restraint yet provides vivid and detailed descriptions. The characterizations are complex and realistic, with sensitively depicted virtues and flaws, evoking empathy and sympathy in the reader. Currinder’s novel is poignant and powerful, with a story that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Currinder’s debut novel expertly navigates the complicated relationship between 17-year-old Leo Coughlin and his older brother, Caleb: “All I understood was that Caleb’s autism and cognitive delays meant that his brain made sense of the world in a different way than mine.” After Caleb’s unpredictable behavior makes them unwelcome in their St. Louis neighborhood, the family moves across town, which sets Caleb off and precipitates physical attacks on Leo. Leo’s only escape is to run—and he does, long and far. When Leo starts at a new high school in the fall, he goes out for the cross-country team and discovers a talent for the sport. Currinder lets his narrative unfold with the steady pace of a distance runner, allowing readers to gradually witness the joys and frustrations of having a neurodivergent sibling. The story is both tender and unabashedly honest in its portrayal of how Caleb affects Leo’s life. While the final chapters bring a tragic twist, the novel remains hopeful, and the resilient love between Caleb and Leo shines through.
Publisher's Weekly

Currinder's quiet debut explores the complexities of living with a sibling with disabilities. High school junior Leo loves his older brother, Caleb, even if he doesn't always understand him. Caleb has autism, seizures, and unspecified cognitive delays that cause him to process and communicate with the world in ways that Leo does not. As Caleb's interactions with him become increasingly violent (though seemingly nonmalicious), Leo takes up running as a form of escape, firmly deciding he would rather find his own escape than risk institutionalizing Caleb. When their family decides to move from their St. Louis suburb to a town that will provide more privacy, Leo is excited about the prospect of joining his new school's cross-country team. The team, it turns out, is made up primarily of undedicated outsiders, with the exception of Curtis, an unusually formal and focused senior who immediately takes Leo under his wing. As Leo juggles his friendship with Curtis and a budding relationship with a female classmate, he also works to balance his home life, struggling with his relationship with Curtis and watching his parents' relationship rapidly deteriorate. Leo's first-person narration expresses affection and respect for Caleb, although his lengthy descriptions of training and races tend to drag for readers who are not enthusiastic runners. A late-in-the-book tragedy affirms problematic disability tropes, cheapens what seems otherwise to have been a sensitive depiction of a character with intersecting disabilities, and turns Caleb into a plot device. The primary cast is a white one. While Leo's story won't set any records, the right readers will happily race with him to the finish line.
Kirkus Reviews

High school junior Leo Coughlin has a difficult home life. His older brother,Caleb, has autism, epilepsy, and some developmental disabilities—and hisdisruptive behavior has prompted the family’s move from one St. Louis suburbto another. Recently, Caleb has become physically aggressive with Leo, leavingscratches and bruises. Their parents’ marriage, which was rocky to begin with,is strained even more by the stress of the whole situation. Leo, who has begunrunning away from Caleb out of necessity, finds a hidden talent and joins first thecross-country team and then the track team at his new high school. A pair of newfriends—Curtis, his running buddy; and Mary, a sympathetic girlfriend—helphim maintain balance amidst the chaos, especially as he works through his complicatedrelationship with Caleb. That relationship is one of the strengths of thenovel, but it takes a tragic (and slightly clichéd) turn. The novel’s other strength isthe track races, with scenes full of action and suspense.
Horn Book Magazine


Mike Currinder ran cross-country and track in high school, and earned a college athletic scholarship. Running Full Tilt novel is a hybrid of his collective experiences as a competitive runner and as an adolescent with an autistic sibling. He is currently a teacher and track and cross-country coach at The American School in Japan. Running Full Tilt is his debut novel.

Texte du rabat

Praised by Jack Gantos, author of Dead End in Norvelt, as "a quick read with a kick at the finish," this debut novel sensitively and memorably captures a teen runner's relationship with his autistic older brother.

Like most siblings, Leo and Caleb have a complicated relationship. But Caleb's violent outbursts literally send Leo running. When the family is forced to relocate due to Caleb's uncontrollable behavior, Leo tries to settle into a new school, joining the cross-country team and discovering his talent for racing and endurance for distance. Things even begin to look up for Leo when he befriends Curtis, a potential state champion who teaches Leo strategy and introduces him to would-be girlfriend, Mary. But Leo's stability is short-lived as Caleb escalates his attacks on his brother, resentful of his sport successes and new friendships.

Leo can't keep running away from his problems. But, with a little help from Curtis and Mary, he can appreciate his worth as a brother and his own capacity for growth, both on and off the field.

Praise from Jack Gantos, author of Dead End in Norvelt, Hole in My Life and The Trouble With Me: "Currinder's novel, Running Full Tilt, is a fast-paced convincing drama of a young runner whose legs circle him back to the many conflicts he is trying to escape--but he can't outrun himself. A quick read with a kick at the finish."

Praise from Paul Volponi, author of The Final Four, Black and White, and Rikers High:
"We feel the inner strength it takes to compete on every page of this splendid narrative, until, as readers, we are running as well--engrossed, and loving every step of the journey."

Échantillon de lecture
I did one final stride and positioned myself on the line. It was a staggered start that would break at the first turn. When the gun finally blasted, I got sucked into the flow. I had to protect myself, but I had to be aggressive, too.

Unlike sprinters, distance runners don’t run in the solitude of their own lanes. They run in packs, with steel spikes sharp as steak knives attached to their feet. Inside a tight pack moving at close to four-minute mile pace, the spikes like barracuda teeth slashing at calves and shins from front and back, elbows and fists box for position.

By the time we cut in at the first turn, it was clear nobody wanted to take the lead in this race. So it was a scramble of bodies as we broke from the bend, sixteen guys angling toward the inside rail, like bees making their way to the hive.

We completed the first lap in 61 and change. I knew damn well that when the pack is crammed tight and you lose focus for even a split second—the amount of time it takes to blink—it’s easy to get clipped. So when I went down, the first person I cursed was myself. Falling is a runner’s worst nightmare, but I did the only thing I could do at that moment. I got back up.

I knew if I could catch the pack by the bell lap, I might have a chance. At that point in the race, every runner has crossed the pain barrier and is running on fumes. It all comes down to guts and will in the final sprint. I had three laps to go. If I could be there for the final hundred meters, I still had a chance.

That’s the beauty of a distance event. If you make a mistake early on, you can still get back in the race.

Part One


“Yes, Caleb?”

“Who put butter on Monica’s nose?”

“You did, Caleb.”

I flipped over onto my back, put my hands under my pillow, and watched the headlights from a passing car hit the speed bump and roll across our bedroom ceiling. It was our last night in the house, and I wished to God my older brother would stop babbling nonsense and just close his eyes and go to sleep.

“Morris is frozen cat?”

“Yes, Morris is frozen cat,” I answered.

“THAT’S RIGHT!” Caleb exploded in laughter. “Leo, what car God drive?”

“What car God drive?” I asked.

“GOD DRIVE BROWN THUNDERBIRD FORD!” he said, laughing again.

My brother posed riddles, ones I never solved. I had no idea who Monica was, why our cat was frozen, or why God drove a brown Thunderbird. I just knew my brother refused to sleep, and since he never slept neither did I.

Mom and Dad once explained to me that Caleb’s autism meant that his brain made sense of the world in a different way than mine. When he saw, heard, touched, or experienced something, his brain was doing something totally different with that information than my brain. I didn’t really get it at the time. I just knew there was something inside him that made him talk differently, walk differently, act differently, and obsess on weird things like train tracks, ceiling fans, and Greyhound buses.

Caleb loved to paint, so Dad used to buy him paint-by-number kits, and on nights when he was especially restless he painted in the den outside our bedroom by the light of the television.
Caleb didn’t get the whole idea of painting by numbers. He grasped the part about finding all the squiggly shapes with the same number and filling them in with the same color, but he didn’t understand that the codes were predetermined. So he produced this crazy art. One month he painted this series of seascapes where deep-blue water and white-tipped waves became bubbling orange lava flecked with flames. Green-faced sailors with blazing red eyes fought for their lives adrift bubbling molten rock.

Dad framed and crammed our bedroom walls with Caleb’s art. My favorite was da Vinci’s The Last Supper. It hung opposite my bed, making it the first and last image I saw each day. Caleb’s version included an orange-skinned Jesus with purple hair, and apostles in jet-black robes circling behind a brick-red table. It looked more like Hells Angels at a Sizzler steak house than Christ’s final meal.

“Leo, what happen long time ago?”

“What happened, Caleb?” I asked him.

“Caleb put Morris cat in mailbox.”

“Yes, you did, Caleb,” I confirmed.

“Scare mailman. RIGHT!” Caleb’s laughter filled our tiny bedroom.

“You scared the holy crap out of him,” I assured him.


“It’s time to sleep.” I turned and flipped my pillow once more. “Good night, Caleb.”

“Good night, Leo. God love you.”

My brother said this to me every night, and I always wondered what he meant.

Did God love me, or him?

Informations sur le produit

Titre: Running Full Tilt
Code EAN: 9781580898027
ISBN: 978-1-58089-802-7
Format: Livre Relié
Editeur: Random House N.Y.
Genre: Enfants et adolescents
nombre de pages: 336
Année: 2017


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