Cover image for Finding Forrester
Finding Forrester
Ellison, James Whitfield.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Newmarket press, 2000.
Physical Description:
192 pages ; 20 cm
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Family isn't always what you're born with--sometimes it's the people you find, sometimes it's the people who find you.

He was a vibrant personality who wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning classic novel four decades ago. And that's the last the world heard of William Forrester.

That is until Jamal Wallace, a brash 16-year-old with a secret passion for writing, invades Forrester's sheltered existence in the South Bronx and re-ignites the dreams of this literary legend in the winter of his life.

Known as the neighborhood recluse, Forrester is a man whose mystery and eccentricity border on the mythical. When Jamal--a talented African-American scholar-athlete who is recruited by an elite Manhattan prep school for his brilliance on and off the basketball court--sneaks into his apartment and accidentally leaves behind his backpack full of writings, they both get something unexpected in return.

Forced to look past skin color and suppositions, Jamal encounters not only his first fan, but a mentor who will challenge and change him forever, and Forrester has his first reason in years to emerge from his self-imposed solitude.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This rather workmanlike novelization of the award-winning Mike Rich screenplay for the current Academy Award- hyped Sean Connery flick was penned by the author of other novels based on the screenplays of Immortal Beloved, Rudy and A Bronx Tale (plus seven original novels, including the award-winning I'm Owen Harrison Harding, and a lengthy list of nonfiction titles). In order to be one of the guys, Jamal Wallace, a fatherless 16-year-old South Bronx African-American basketball phenom, has been keeping his literary ambitions under heavy wraps. Curious about the regular visits of a well-dressed courier in a fancy car to a shadowy figure living in a tenement across from the basketball court, on a dare Jamal climbs in a window to investigate, only to leave his backpack after he is scared into a hasty retreat. When the backpack is tossed back to him a few days later, he finds the writing in his notebooks has been edited. Jamal confronts the recluse and soon discovers he is the legendary 70-year-old William Forrester, who vanished after winning a Pulitzer for his only novel, written while he was still in his 20s. Now mentored by Forrester, Jamal is recruited by a snobby Manhattan prep school for his high SAT scores and basketball moves. Befriended by the pretty daughter of a WASP millionaire, he is riding high when a teacher who failed as a novelist accuses him of plagiarism and his friends desert him. Already a Scholastic Book Club selection, this warmheartedÄhowever clich‚d and Horatio AlgeresqueÄfable bridges that nebulous and indefinable no-man's-land between YA readers and their parents. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-This fast-paced, engrossing novel is based on the movie. Jamal is an intellectually and athletically gifted black teen who carefully hides his passion for books from everyone until he meets William Forrester, a mysterious elderly white man who lives cloistered in a nearby apartment building. Because of his basketball skills and his impressive SAT scores, Jamal earns a scholarship and is transferred from his under-equipped and overcrowded neighborhood high school in the Bronx to a prestigious and challenging private high school in Manhattan. He learns that Forrester, who has been helping him perfect his creative-writing skills, is a famous and highly acclaimed novelist. Jamal has to deal with the pressures of adjusting to a new environment, but the toughest foe he faces is his English teacher, who dislikes and mistrusts the teen because of his race and socioeconomic background. Professor Crawford is determined to prove that Jamal plagiarizes his written assignments, and he makes life difficult for him. Young adults will especially enjoy reading about this contemporary urban teen who balances his concern with being cool and down with his love for literature and the world of ideas.-Joyce Fay Fletcher, Rippon Middle School, Prince William County, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.