Thursday, October 9, 2014

Book Review: "The Running Dream" by Wendelin Van Draanen

When we first meet Jessica, she is opening her eyes in the hospital and taking in all that happened:  riding on the bus home from the track meet where she set a new record, the truck that plowed into the bus, the fact that she has lost one of her legs.  Jessica lives to run and now she can't even walk?

This story takes you through Jessica's journey, all from Jessica's point of view.  We see her dealing with the grief of losing her leg which symbolizes the life she had and loved as well as her dreams for the future.  We also see her struggle to comes to terms with her new reality and to not only make the best of it, but to not give up on her dreams.

I think the most important thing though is that this story could have gotten really preachy or didactic or overly moralistic, but it doesn't.  It does take you through what it is like to get a prosthetic limb though.  The narrative also stays within the realm of realistic possibility of what a sixteen year old would feel, say or do in this situation.  Granted, it does stay pretty surface level and doesn't get too deep.  But I think that will help keep this book most appealing to younger teens. This would be a quality read for those in grades 7-10, especially those interested in overcoming trauma, handicaps or even the power of friendships and working toward a goal.

The Running Dream
by Wendelin Van Draanen
Knopf, 2011
332 pages
Source:  Library


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