Contender, The by Lipsyte, Robert
The Contender is the debut novel by American author and sports journalist Robert Lipsyte. It was published in 1967. The book's plot centers on a black seventeen-year-old man named Alfred Brooks, a high school dropout living with Aunt Pearl and her three daughters in Harlem, New York City. He begins training at a boxing club as an alternative to drugs and gang membership. The novel follows Alfred as his friend James is arrested after robbing the grocery store where Alfred works, and his confrontations with Major, the leader of the local gang, who is responsible for James' drug addiction. Alfred, through a series of related events, learns that life is about more than fighting and winning; it is about being a contender.