Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson wants a home, food on the table, and a high school he can attend for more than part of a year. But as the son of a single father working in warehouses across the Pacific Northwest, Charley’s been pretty much on his own. When tragic events leave him homeless weeks after their move to Portland, Oregon, Charley seeks refuge in the tack room of a run-down horse track. Charley’s only comforts are his friendship with a failing racehorse named Lean on Pete and a photograph of his only known relative. In an increasingly desperate circumstance, Charley will head east, hoping to find his aunt who had once lived a thousand miles away in Wyoming ? but the journey to find her will be a perilous one.
In Vlautin’s third novel, Lean on Pete, he reveals the lives and choices of American youth like Charley Thompson who were failed by those meant to protect them and who were never allowed the chance to just be a kid.
A boy 15 years of age moves with his dad to Portland. They have plans he wants to get into a football team at a school there and his father is working a new job as a fork lift operator and a little relationship with a woman who already has a boyfriend a very big Samoan. The lad has a bit of an emptiness you find from reading this story, due to his mother dumping him with his father at one years old without concern or care for anymore contact. He has been through many hard times and has many more terrible days ahead of him as he finds himself sleeping rough homeless and penniless fighting and scavenging for the next meal everyday. He faces troubles and a few brush-ins with the law and criminals. People try to steal from him on the rough streets others are charitable and give him free rides on the freeway and food here and there. His only hope is his aunt shes a librarian and possibly the one person left who can help and love him. This story is a poignant tale of hope and survival. The plight and journey of this boy becomes more engrossing as the story develops. Leon on Pete is a beautiful horse that he wants to save from being run into the ground and eventually put down due to not winning its way. Boy and horse you wish the two never part company but their union was inevitably bound to come to an end somewhere in their timeline of life. When one can’t provide for himself the chances are very bleak for those around him. It give you a peak into a life of possible teenagers that have walked the same walk and maybe homeless, lost and poor, as our main protagonist contained within these pages.
The writing style was layered out a nice and easy reading pattern. The reading process just flew by like the wind but the story and the characters remain for more than the course of daylight.