John S. Simmons
My admiration for and promotion of [The Contender] is because it adheres to certain established traditions for adolescent fiction … and yet also reflects some recent, significant trends in popular, well-written novels for young people. Lipsyte's ability to produce a picture of life which is credible for today's adolescents and at the same time stay within those constrictions which continue to be observed by hot-eyed censors of "school literary materials" is a tribute to his craftsmanship…. (p. 116)
There is a good bit of didacticism [in The Contender], but it is not out of proportion and Lipsyte on occasion places two adult pontificators, Spoon and Uncle Wilson, in slightly ironic...
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