Sam Pennington is an angry young man whose life has spiraled downward since his father died and his mother began drinking. Expulsion from school is a very real possibility and constant conflict with others places him in dangerous situations.
Jerry Ambrose is a professional boxing trainer. A person of faith, he seeks not to just train boxers but to develop young men of faith as well. But he has a past with which he has not fully made his peace.
When the two meet, it is a potentially life-saving opportunity for both. Potentially if they allow the other to help them and if they seek God’s help and direction.
In Luke Wordley’s debut novel, The Fight we are taken behind the masks of anger in men, young and old, and shown the unresolved pain and loss which fuels that anger and drives so many to angry and destructive acts. And Wordley does a masterful job of telling an all too common story but with the potential for hope and change.
The Fight is set in East London and features not just Pennington and Ambrose but a cast of believable characters along with a peak into the world of boxing and a fast-paced and edgy narrative. I think that one of the strengths of this novel is how Wordley develops and keeps the character of Pennington alternating between becoming a rage driven young man and a shy and smart adolescent.
What I liked about this novel is both its honest realism in addressing the issue of rage and anger in men and presenting a hope filled possibility life with God’s help that does not come across as plastic or clichéd. In fact the honest struggle of Ambrose to reign in his passion for Pennington’s success at the cost of both Pennington’s life and soul as well as that of Ambrose’s is another strength of this book.
And the ending? Unforgettable!
A great novel for teens, young adults, men, and women The Fight is a raw, gritty, tense, and hope filled novel. I give it an “outstanding” rating.
Note: I received a copy of The Fight from it’s publisher, Tyndale House, in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.