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The Obstacle Course

351 pages8 hours


A disadvantaged kid struggles to rise above his circumstances in a New York Times–bestselling author’s “poignant, honest, and thoroughly memorable” novel (Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard out of Carolina).
 It’s 1957, and fifteen-year-old Roy Poole has again been awakened by the nightly argument between his mother, his sister, and his hard-drinking father. Roy sneaks away after the old man passes out, and hitches a ride to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, to use its brutal obstacle course, which he can run better than most midshipmen. Whenever he’s navigating the ropes, gullies, and jumps, Roy finds that he’s able to leave his troubles behind. Roy’s dream is to join the Academy as a midshipman, but after years of bad grades and mishaps, Annapolis is a long shot. When a chance encounter with a retired admiral sets him on the path to a better life, Roy will face his greatest obstacle yet.

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