Monday, April 13, 2015

Book Review: The Running Dream - Highly Recommend

I don't know how many books there are out there about walking/running/journeying/accomplishing goals, but I tend to do best in my exercise when I am listening to such books. Especially since, due to a fifteen pound weight gain (my husband has been doing more of the cooking and I swear he is making me fat), I am walking 2-1/5 miles each day now. Thus, I was game for another book about such things when I saw the audio version of Wendelin Van Draanen's The Running Dream. I am familiar with this author, having loved her book, Flipped (a book I must have read prior to starting this blog).

I'm not a runner myself. I have a blogging friend, Amy, who does run and loves it. Even when I try, I find jogging to be quite difficult. My knees hurt badly enough just walking on the treadmill. I don't really get the charge runners get from running. It reminds me of that line, I think it is from Back to the Future, where the two old guys see someone run by with a shirt bearing the slogan "I run for fun," and the two old geezers look at each other and say, "Run for fun? What the hell kind of fun is that?" Thus, I thought I wouldn't really be able to relate to this story of a girl who just wants to run again. How wrong I was. This was an incredibly moving, hope-inspiring tale. Full of raw emotion, I would say this was one of the best young adult novels I've read this year.

Sixteen-year-old Jessica is injured in a bus accident on her way home from a track meet where she has just set a personal best record. Another girl died, but Jessica lost a leg. At first, Jessica is convinced that the girl who died is better off than her, but as time and the blessing of a budding friendship with Rosa develops, she comes to look at things differently. Rosa is a girl she would have snubbed or ignored before. Rosa has cerebral palsy and her speech is hard to understand. But when Jessica is placed at a table next to the wheel-chair bound girl, she learns that the most important dream of any disabled person is to be seen for who they are not simply for their disability. Rosa helps her to see a world of opportunities she didn't think existed for her anymore.

This is such an important story. Everyone can benefit from the messages this book conveys - messages of hope in the face of obstacles, recognition in the face of disabilities, and determination in the face of dreams. I can't wait to plunge into another book by this observant and gifted writer. She tugs at my heart strings and reminds me of what is most important in life.


Amy Sorensen said...

I loved this book too! It won the CLAU (children's lit award in Utah) and I was so happy about that. It's one of my favorites to recommend to patrons.

Wendy said...

Yes, Amy, I had a feeling you would love it too. It deserves any award it wins. Top book in my opinion!