“Lean on Pete riveted me. Reading it, I was heartbroken and moved; enthralled and convinced. This is serious American literature.”—Cheryl Strayed, Oregonian
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 Lean on Pete, Willy Vlautin 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.
About the Author
What People are Saying About This
“Lean on Pete reminds me of the best parts of Gus Van Sant’s beautiful film My Own Private Idaho. Willy’s voice is pure and his stories universal. He never loses hope or heart and I believe every word he’s written.”
“Willy Vlautin’s novels are clean as a bone, companionable, and profound. He is a master at paring loneliness and longing from his characters, issuing them through downturns, trials and transience without starving their humanity, and always sustaining them, and the reader, with ordinary hope.“
“The comparisons with Steinbeck and Carver are richly deserved, yet Vlautin is a truly original voice…powerful, heartbreaking stuff. Just three novels in and Vlautin is already one of the best writers in America.”
“Reading Willy Vlautin is like jumping into a clear, cold lake in the middle of summer. His prose is beautifully spare and clean, but underneath the surface lies an incredible depth, with all kinds of hidden stories and emotions resting in the shadows.”