Book Review: The Running Dream

I’ve been reading.  I admit that most of my reading these days involves journal articles for work, but I do occasionally get in some actual books designed for regular reading.

This year our floor where I work decided to contribute to the annual Christmas party held for foster children in our county.  Being the do-gooder that I am, I went ahead and ordered all sorts of craft projects, glow in the dark necklaces and sports equipment for the kids.  I also ordered books.  I particularly wanted some books that might inspire or help kids dream.  So in November, I read a lot of teen literature. Enter The Running Dream  by Wendelin Van Draanen.

Apparently it is based on a true story, which is rather amazing.  The basic premise, 16 year old Jessica is a high school runner who loses her leg in a tragic accident. She works through the grief process (rather rapidly) all the while becoming more sensitive to others disabilities and problems around her, and eventually returns to running–and also picks up the “hot boyfriend” in the end.  Part of me found it all a little too good to be true, and a bit like those After school Specials for the 1980’s .  I now realize that it was based on a true story, so likely this is all true, and it still kind of amazes me at how each piece seems to fall together at the end of the story.


But of course the story ends conveniently there where all the pieces fall together. The reality is that Jessica and folks with disability will continue to face many challenges through their lives that can not be chronicled in one slim volume.

All that said, this book was a tear jerker and a page turner for me. Firstly many of the emotions that the main character describes after her injury remind me of the emotions I felt after my large spine injury. The author has a way of making the reader entirely invested and committed to the outcome.  I could NOT stop reading the book!  My favorite part of the book is how the author describes running through her main character.  Certain phrases have stuck with me as I am out and running again myself.  I sometimes hear them when I am struggling with some particular aspect of a workout- especially if it is on the track.

The Verdict?  Definitely worth the read for adults, and a great read for teens.

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