The protagonist, Ed Cooley is an 11th grade high school student at the exclusive Essex School. Ed is an outstanding student but never really is able to fit in socially with his peers. Through hard work, discipline and dedication Ed is able to overcome his own obsessive compulsive demons and finally begins to realize his potential athletically and academically. Several runners on Ed’s team are using performance enhancing drugs which brings them great initial success. Soon however, they are discovered and this sets the stage for a dramatic fall from grace. In an ironic twist, the drug dealer himself is liberated from the perfectionistic tedium of his claustrophobic bourgeois environment when becomes a fugitive from justice. In the end, both the drug dealer and Ed find their unique personal independence and freedom and begin to live their lives authentically.
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