The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
“My hopes, my dreams, my life…it’s over. The only one who seems unfazed is Dr. Wells. ‘How are you feeling,’ he asks. I just stare at him. What am I supposed to say? Fine? He inspects my chart. ‘So let’s have look, shall we?’ He pulls the covers of my lap, and I find myself face to face with the truth. My right leg has no foot. No ankle. No shin. It’s just my thigh, my knee, and a stump wrapped in a mountain of cause. My eyes fill with tears. I turn away to see my mother fighting back tears of her own. ‘It’ll be okay,’ she says. ‘We’ll get through this.’ – The Running Dream – pg. 4-5.
Jessica is a track star at her high school. She was born to run. It’s her everything. Every morning, at 6 am, Jessica and her dog are out, tearing up the neighbourhood on their morning run. Five glorious miles. The wind in her hair, the sound of her foot steps. Jessica loves everything about running. She especially likes the feeling of placing first at area track meets. One day, while returning from a very successful meet, Jessica’s school bus is hit by a dump truck. This is where our story starts.
The Running Dream is an amazing book that takes the reader on a track of emotional highs and lows. From the opening scene in the hospital, where Jessica is coming to grips with the reality that a split second accident has claimed her leg and, in fact, her lifestyle to the last scene where….wait…I don’t want to ruin it for you! You’ll just have to read it to find out!
One of the many themes of this book is that of seeing a person instead of their condition. I feel this is a lesson many people can learn from. Too often, people see others as their circumstance: A homeless man is a man first, a man with a name and a history with friends and family. Most simply see a homeless person asking for change. There are many characters in this book who are judge based on their surface appearance. The Running Dream tries to show the reader that it is important to look deeper and see the true person behind their appearance or reputation.
This book will appeal to anyone. It’s a great redemption story. It’s also a great recovery story. If you happen to be a runner, no doubt you will love the story even more!
If you recognize the author’s name, it may be because she also wrote the book Flipped. The Running Dream is a bit more substantial than Flipped but the true to life characters are similar. This books tugs on your heart and reminds the reader that we are all able to achieve greatness. We just need to believe it and work for it.