The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen


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Book Title:  The Running Dream
Author:  Wendelin Van Draanen
# of pages:  332
Genre:  Sports Fiction

The Running Dream took place in an unnamed American town set in modern day. The main character, Jessica Carlisle, is one of the most inspiring characters I’ve ever read about. She is resilient and tenacious, a character who is easy to love, as she undergoes her triumphant recovery. Jessica’s drive and determination to return to the track after the tragic loss of her right leg was both as trying as it was heartening. Jessica possessed many an admirable quality, overcoming a seemingly-endless battle with depression, pain, and grief, to become a mentally and physically stronger person.

The Running Dream follows Jessica Carlisle, a track star at her local high school, whose promising running future has been cut short due to a tragic bus accident that caused her to lose her right leg below the knee. As she slowly and painfully leaves her hospital bed and returns to the limited amount of normalcy left in her life, Jessica discovers that her wishful dreams to run again are only $20,000 out of reach. Throughout the course of eight months, the reader joins Jessica as she returns to school and her sympathetic track team takes on the hefty task of raising the money to purchase Jessica a prosthetic running leg. Ultimately, through extensive pain, angst, and frustration, Jessica finds herself running again, only this time, she has incredible new friends beside her and a newly-earned sense of profoundness and wisdom to carry with her.

From start to finish this book felt like a beautifully written and painfully honest journey that forces the reader to open their eyes and be thankful for what they have. As I followed Jessica over the course of eight painstaking and emotional months, I felt as though I was right there with her. She inspired me to try to become a better person and a better runner, and now, in both my life and on the cross-country course, I will think of Jessica and her tireless fight to earn her life back and push myself the way Jessica did.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in running, self-improvement, or even someone who would just enjoy reading a heart-warming story about overcoming personal obstacles. Check it out; I think you’ll agree, it’s worth your time!