by Chris Crutcher

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Bo Brewster has been at war with his father for as long as he can remember. Following angry outbursts at his football coach and English teacher that have cost him his spot on the football team and moved him dangerously close to expulsion from school, he turns to the only adult he believes will listen: Larry King.

In his letters to Larry, Bo describes his quest for excellence on his own terms. No more coaches for me, he tells the talk show icon, no more dads. I'm going to be a triathlete, an Ironman.

Relegated to Mr. Nak's before-school Anger Management group (which he initially believes to be populated with future serial killers and freeway snipers), Bo meets a hard-edged, down-on-their-luck pack of survivors with stainless steel shields against the world that Bo comes to see are not so different from his own. It is here he meets and falls in love with Shelly, a future American Gladiator, whose passion for physical challenge more than matches his.

Ironman is a funny, sometimes heartbreaking story about growing up in the heart of struggle. It is about standing up, getting knocked down, and standing up again. It is about being heard--and learning to listen.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061968426
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/22/2009
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
File size: 501 KB
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Chris Crutcher has written nine critically acclaimed novels, an autobiography, and two collections of short stories. Drawing on his experience as a family therapist and child protection specialist, Crutcher writes honestly about real issues facing teenagers today: making it through school, competing in sports, handling rejection and failure, and dealing with parents. He has won three lifetime achievement awards for the body of his work: the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the ALAN Award, and the NCTE National Intellectual Freedom Award. Chris Crutcher lives in Spokane, Washington.

Read an Excerpt

Ironman EPB

Chapter One

TO: Larry King

RE: Exclusive rights to an hour-long interview immediately prior to publication of the soon-to-be highly-sought-after memoirs of our country's future premier Ironman, Beauregard Brewster, in the year of his quest to conquer the field in Yukon Jack's Eastern Washington invitational Scabland Triathlon.


Dear Larry,

At 4:30 each morning I awaken to your voice. I lie transfixed until five-when I haul my aching body out of the sack for another in a series of infinite workoutslistening to the wise men and loons of yesterday's airways deliver opinions on everything from the hole in the ozone layer (it covers an area larger than the United States) to antidepressants (Dick Cavett and Patty Duke swear by them; Scientologists swear at them) to racism (you smell out racial prejudice like my father smells out Democrats) to the most effective methods to forever rid oneself of fat globules and cellulite (there aren't any) to the whereabouts of Elvis (Jeffrey Dahmer ate him). What I like about you is, you listen. You interview politicians and movie stars and musicians and every kind of hero and villain. And authors. When you are finally accorded the privilege of reaching across the mike to shake my sweaty hand, I'll be one of those. It's gonna be a career-making interview, Larry, and to give you full opportunity for the preparation it deserves, I've decided to leak the memoirs to you as they happen.

I am aware from your numerous comments that you have not long been such a prudent caretaker of your physical self (your heart attack set you in the right direction)and may not know that a triathlete (AKA Ironman) is a swimming, bicycling, running lunatic, willing and able to cover great distances at high speeds while enduring extreme physical pain. That's me, Lar, and you shall be privy to the circumstances surrounding my voyage beyond human physical limits in my crusade to finish Yukon Jack's E. W. Invitational Scabland extravaganza alive, and well ahead of all competitors under voting age. You should know that Yukon Jack's is not your run of the mill, rapid -stroll -through -hell event. Distances in a normal, Olympic-length triathlon are such that participants spend approximately twice as much time cycling as they do running or swimming, giving a definite edge to the good bikers. But Yukon Jack, AKA Jack McCoy, is a two-time English Channel swimmer and a three-time finisher of the Western States 100-mile ultramarathon, and he's the first person to tell you he thinks most cyclists are more interested in displaying their tight, multicolored costumes than they are in "gettin' down to some real physical exercise," so he shaved their edge off this particular event by doubling the swimming distance and halving the biking distance. All that works to my advantage because I love to train swimming and running, but whenever I ride a bike more than three blocks, I feel the need for major surgery to remove that skinny little seat.

Unfortunately, to reach the physical, spiritual, and emotional heights required to conquer this event, I must also endure my regular life and the mortals who would stand in my way. One of those mortals, not the greatest nor the least, would be Keith Redmond, my English teacher and the head football coach at Clark Fork High School. Redmond has not forgiven my cardinal sin of walking out on the football team on the second day of two-a-days this year because I took issue—quite vocally, I have to admit—with his practice of public humiliation as a motivator. I'm a bit on the skinny side, though I like to call it wiry, so you wouldn't think by looking at me that any football coach would spend more than fifteen seconds grieving my departure, but I've got some sticky fingers when it comes to hauling in the old pigskin, and Redmond was expecting league-leading numbers out of me this season. So when I took my eyes off a ball I should have caught, because I was burrowing into the grass to avoid crippling whiplash at the hands of Kyle Gifford—who mounts on his bedroom wall pictures of teammates whose seasons he has ended—Redmond stormed into my face, battering at my chest as if his index finger were a woodpecker, and demanded at maximum decibels for me to declare my gender. It was our third confrontation of the day, so I told him I was a sissy and he was an asshole, and I threw down my helmet and headed for the showers.

Looking back it was probably an overreaction, but I don't do well with degradation, and that isn't likely to change. I could have saved myself a lot of grief if I'd transferred out of Coach's Senior English class because he makes no secret about what he thinks of quitters, but I thought I owed it to him to hang around and torment him a little. it was a bad idea.

This morning Mr. Serbousek stepped into the hall between second and third periods, motioning me into his classroom. He said, "Congratulations, Brewster, you're over the top. You have my unofficial county record."

Damn. "Redmond got me suspended." it was not a question.

"Looks that way."

"How long?"

Mr. S said, "Indefinitely."

"That's a long time."

"You want the exit speech?"

"About holding my temper?"

He nodded.

"About accountability? About being seventeen years old and an infinitesimal quarter-step from adulthood?" I squinted, indicating an infinitesimal quarter-step between my thumb and forefinger. "About being held responsible for my own actions? Managing my impulses?"

Mr. S smiled. "If anyone asks, tell them I said those things."

Ironman EPB
. Copyright © by Chris Crutcher. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Ironman 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
james atkinson More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. It was a quick read i read for summer reading. I was impressed. Its not the cartoon robot. Its about a teenager the has problems but learns to get over them and be happy with his life. Ir does have alot of cussing but is still a great read.
Cougar_H More than 1 year ago
Ironman by Chris Crutcher What did I learn from this book? The author was attempting to put out plenty of lessons for teenagers. For example, the main character Bo and his father have extreme disagreements; since he could talk, he and his dad had heated arguments. An analysis of why would say that they were so much the same: stubborn, hard headed and too competitive to let the other guy win an argument. Also, Bo faces troubles with his anger. After getting in trouble for cussing out his English teacher, he is forced to join an anger management class that is rumored to have some of the scariest most dangerous kids in the school. So what did I learn? It kind of gave me some model of how I should live through my teen years. It shows how to persevere. He has to handle school, taking care of his little brother, chill with his girlfriend, work out, work, and go to the anger management class . That's a full time job if you ask me. As impressive as Bo is the most impressive thing is that with all the things he does he still gets his workouts in to train for the toughest athletic event ever made: an ironman competition. Running 26 miles, biking 100, and swimming 5 miles, he trains for months for this grueling competition. That has defiantly inspired me to work hard in the weight room, classroom, and at home. So what exactly did I learn from this book? I learned to persevere through tough times like school, training, and troubles at home. I also learned that you can handle ANYTHING with perseverance and a will to get things done.
MrsHillReads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not Crutcher's strongest book, but still a great read! Give this to your non-traditional athlete.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After an outburst in English class, teen jock Bo is sent to Anger Management classes with the scary bad kids. He finds he fits in better than he expected. Told partly through Bo's letters to Larry King, this books documents a year in Bo's life, the year his battle with his father comes to a head, he gets a girlfriend, and finds friends and support where he least expected it.I had a hard time getting into this - Bo was so focused on his personal training and Ironman goals, I couldn't find anything in common with him to latch on to. But as I read further, I realised that this is the message I'll take from the book, that you don't have to have something in common with someone to want them to reach their goals, and to care what happens to them. As details about Bo's life, and the lives of his fellow Anger Management members are slowly revealed, people's capacity for both empathy and horror comes to the front. There are parents here who are truly evil, and kids who manage to pull kindness out of the most dreadful situations.I'd give this to people looking for a realistic but hopeful stories about abuse.
annekiwi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Not as much as some of the others, but definately up there with Stotan! and Whale Talk. I was glad that the father and son entered counseling, even if dad was having a hard time sticking with it. Gave me some hope for their future. I loved the Nak Pack and how they worked on their issues. I even liked the writing to Larry King bit, it was a nice element. It was interesting to see Lionel Serbousek again and find out what had happened to him. And I like it that there was an arrogant, annoying jock on the swimming team, usually they're only on the football team in Crutcher's books.
rpultusk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the powerful story of Bo Brewster, a high school student with a difficult father, a horrible English teacher, and a tough time in general. Bo relieves his anger and frustration in long letters to Larry King, the best listener he knows. After an argument with his English teacher, he is relegated to Mr. Nak's before school "Anger Management" class. With the help of the friends he makes in Mr. Nak's class, Bo eventually learns to see the people around him and the world he lives in just a little bit differently. In the process, he falls in love, trains for a triathlon (and beats the school bully), and develops his ability to empathize with others.The plot is told through Bo's letters to Larry King and through an omniscient, third person narrator. The plot contains references to mature topics, such as sex, drugs, domestic violence, and child abuse. The characters are dynamic, believable, and intensely human. The plot is compelling and unpredictable.Highly recommended for high school libraries.
mightymike1976 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Crutcher, Chris. Ironman. New York: HarperTeen, 2004.Genre: SportsThemes: Young Adult, Teens, Ironman/Triathlon, Anger Management, Therapy.Age / Grade Appropriateness: Teen - Grade 7-9, Age 12-14Awards:¿A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book (1996)¿ ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults (1999.04 | Good Sports, 1999)¿ ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (1996)Censorship Issues:¿Language¿Abuse¿HomosexualityPlot Summary:Ironman is the story of a would-be triathlete who is still in high school. Bo Brewster is the product of a broken home, complete with a father who strives to break his son¿s will at every opportunity. The story is told with a combination of first and third person; the first person point of view is told in the form of letters from Bo to Larry King. Bo writes King letters detailing his exploits during training for a local triathlon competition.The novel opens with Bo telling Larry the story of how he quit the football team, due to Coach Redmond¿s constant verbal abuse. Redmond brands Bo a ¿quitter¿ and seeks to torment him during English class, which is taught by Redmond. Bo eventually calls Redmond an ¿asshole,¿ and is sentenced to an anger management group.The group is taught by an interesting character, Mr. Nakatani, a Japanese Cowboy from Texas. The group is comprised of the usual cast of misfits (think Breakfast at Tiffany¿s), and Brewster is viewed as an outsider. The bright spot for Brewster during this period is a former trouble-maker turned educator, Mr. Serbousek. During the novel it is revealed that Serbousek is gay and Brewster has a hard time coping with his sexuality. The group has a profound effect on Brewster, of course, and they bond. The story culminates with Brewster¿s performance in the triathlon. The members of the group come together to spur him on during the race. Critique: Crutcher is one of the elite novelists in the Young Adult genre, and Ironman does not disappoint. The novel offers teen readers the ability to relate with Bo¿s plight and the members of the group serve as other characters to identify with. Crutcher¿s background as a therapist shows in his writing style by using the group and in some of the terminology that used therein. The inclusion of the letters to Larry King (although dated, 1995) provide an interesting twist from the normal audience relationship.Ironman is well written and paced. The characters were likable and believable, without sacrificing message and intent. All in all, it was an enjoyable read. Crutcher remains at the forefront of YA lit.Curriculum Uses:The obvious uses include sports or working out subjects, but the underlying issues and concerns of the book are anger management and abuse. The members in the group all suffer from some form of abuse (translate- neglect). This book could be used as a springboard for discussion of abuse in the classroom.
presto on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Following an altercation with his football coach seventeen year old Beauregard Brewster find himself in trouble and excluded from school, his only way back is to attend Mr Nakatani's early morning Anger Management classes. We follow Bo's progress both through the third person narrative and in Bo's own words in his letters to talk show host Larry King.Along the way Bo learns a lot about himself, his strong willed father now separated from his mother, his fellow students in Mr Nak's class (who regard the preppy Bo his as out of place in the class), as well as coming to terms with an unpalatable fact, to Bo, that he learns about his favorite teacher and swimming coach Mr Serbousek. He also finds an unlikely girlfriend.While attending Mr Nak's class Bo is also in training for a marathon triathlon, cycling, running and swimming, and he finds support from surprising sources and apparent disloyalty also from surprising individuals.This is a good read, Bo's letters to Larry are full of humour and wit, and the story itself is full of wise counsel but never becomes preachy.
dlmann on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bo is sentenced to attend an anger management class by his former coach. In this group Bo (who is a tri-athelete in training) learns to deal with the unfairness of life. In addition , he learns valuable life lessons about himself and others. This is a good book about overcoming the obstacles in life.A very good book for high school students. It is inspiring and one that is easy to relate to.
rneitzel15 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bravo for Chris Crutcher. Again he prevails as on of the most intuitive and gutsy young adult authors of our time. This book was deeply moving and very real. A breath of fresh air and a slap in the face all at the same time. I loved it. Read it and tell a friend to do the same!
4sarad on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This really wasn't as good as Crutcher's "Staying Fat.." or "Whale Talk", but it was still pretty good. I guess I had a hard time relating to the main character because I don't feel the anger he does. I wasn't impressed by his girlfriend and I thought the Japanese cowboy was a little annoying.
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I am a sophomore at Holt High School reading Iron Man by Chris Crutcher. This book was recommended to me by my teacher and another student so I figured it would be a good one. I read this book for my silent reading time, and preferred it to all the other books I read this year. Iron Man is about a boy named Bo Brewster. It's interesting how the book is written; half of it is written in first person by Bo in stories to Larry King, and the other parts are a narrative written in third person. It is really interesting to read with the changing writing styles, it keeps a reader on their toes and interested. Bo gets into some trouble with the football coach and teacher Mr. Redmond when he feels he is being disrespected. He ends up in before school anger management classes with Mr. Nak, a small man with cowboy heritage. Bo was worried about what he at first believes is nothing but future serial killers; when he meets a girl he becomes quite fond of. Her name's Shelly, and she is easily twice as strong as Bo. A big Triathlon, Iron Jack's, which Bo is training for throughout the book does a great job tying all loose ends together at the end of the book, leaving the reader with that satisfied feeling. The book concentrates on different relationships; father-son relationships, teacher-student relationships, and even deals with unique relationships with friends. Other themes other then relationships that this book incorporates are determination and controlling yourself. Iron Man touches some tender subjects, often leaving you shocked and confused; but it always catches the reader's attention, and makes you want to read more and more. I would definitely recommend Iron Man to any young adult. It deals with the issues that most kids have faced or will face growing up, and most readers will easily relate to it. I am not necessarily a reading fanatic, but this book I couldn't put down. It was extremely interesting and always kept me wondering as to what would happen next. If you liked Chinese Handcuffs by Chris Crutcher, you would love this book; it deals with the same type of issues and ages of characters. Also if you like TV shows like Gossip Girl, or any other show that deals with young adults and their struggles day to day this book is perfect for you. I would give the book a four and a half star rating. It's a very interactive book that I could relate to, as could many young adults. All the characters are extremely well developed with great insight into their thoughts and backgrounds. The plot has its fair share of twists and turns always keeping the reader guessing. Overall Crutcher did an excellent job with this book. I guarantee any reader would love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Throughout his exquisite and self-mastered sports related novel, Chris Crutcher reveals a teenage male with the problems that he faces in his life. The main character of the novel, Bo Brewster, is an energetic machine when it comes to physical fitness. He is training to compete in an ironman contest, which is basically a triathlon. He is in the best of shape and trains everyday to the maximum. Throughout Bo¿s tough training, he has to deal with his cheating father, his anger management class, his rival, his girlfriend, his unjust teacher, and finding out the fact that his favorite teacher is homosexual.
His father tries to cheat Bo out of winning against his rival, Wyrack, by supplying him with the best possible bike for the triathlon. However, his anger management, through several meetings, becomes the backbone of his training. His anger management class pushes him to excel in his ironman contest. He also meets Shelly in the anger management class, who later becomes his girlfriend. Bo is usually a mellow fellow, but his unjust teacher, Mr. Redmond, puts the kettle on the front burner. He is the one who exposed Bo¿s anger and put him into the anger management class. Bo has to deal with his crazy life as well as focus on his training to compete in the triathlon and beat Wyrack¿s team. Bo has to beat Wyrack¿s team by himself in all three phases. Crutcher displays themes of karma, motivation, and support throughout the novel.
Ironman, by Chris Crutcher, is a sports fiction novel. Crutcher writes several sports fiction novel, but this novel is separate like most of the other ones by him such as Whale Talk and Running Loose. I really enjoyed this book. I am a big fan of physical fitness so I could relate to it easily. I also liked how the book was told in third person, but then Bo has his journal entries to Larry King told in first person. It made the plot easier to understand. I recommend this book to any teenager that likes sports and physical fitness. It¿ll really take you for a trip.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ironman is a great book for anyone that is involved with sports. It tells the story of a teenage boy that has problems at home and at school while training to become an ironman. The main reason that I loved this book was because I understood what he was going though and could connect with him, which I believe that many other people can as well. The one thing that is bad about the book is the slow start but after getting past that it is impossible to set down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ironman is a fantastic young adult novel, where Chris Crutcher presents characters who are struggling with issues of anger management, fear, and abuse. The main character, Bo is training to be a triathlete, an Ironman. He is a very committed athlete, however he has continually battled with certain authoritative figures in his life, one being his father. Throughout the book Bo becomes acquainted with a group of adolescents in his Anger Management group who are also struggling with problems that turn out to be similar to his own. Bo¿s character was very well developed, and his perseverance throughout the triathlon was compelling. Within this book the characters have learned to stand up to their fears and as a result have become stronger. This book really represents the highs and lows of the different characters. This storyline was great because Chris Crutcher not only writes about the triathlon, but revealed the deeper issues of his characters. Ironman was comical in some parts, but really portrayed the struggles that many teenagers face within their school and at home.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a really good book. it starts out kind of slow, especially if u want to read a book about becoming an ironman, but with some additional plotline twists, (and Larry King) this book really gets to you. it's not a large plot, but its addicting. one of the best books i've read in a while.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ironman is an outstanding book for athletes in high school, both boys and girls. Bo is a high school student training to compete in a triathlon. Bo gets into a little trouble with his former football coach and is sent to anger management, where he meets some pretty cool friends. Anger management, his only source of supportthrough the triathlon, helps Bo find out who he really is!I give this book four stars because it is motivating and inspiring for those who want to reach their goals. Ironman is a very easy book to read. It gives you a very clear picture of what's goin on in the book. It gets you up close to the character's lives and personal problems, and as a high school student it's very easy to relate to. Ironman is a magnificent read for those in jr. high and high school.