Before I tell you what I thought, here’s the synopsis.
My name is Sally Lane Brookman. If you met me on the street, you’d probably wonder if you knew me from somewhere else, from another city or another time in your life. I look like every woman and yet no woman. I always was and probably always will be the girl next door according to my dear husband William.
You know the kind of person who never quite fits in wherever she goes? Who wears some invisible freak flag that everyone can sense without exactly seeing? That’s me. I’m 40 years old, and I still don’t really know what I’m doing or who I am, and even after getting hit by a bus, I can’t seem to stop running.
But the problem is I’m realizing that I’m running from more than my past. I’m not just escaping the horrors of my childhood. I’m running from myself. I’m running from growing up. I’m running from all the responsibilities of being a mom. Maybe, maybe I’m even running from God.
I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m doing or why I can’t stop running. All I know is that I gotta stop running, or else the family I love so much is going to unravel. No one can run forever.
This novel is not an easy one to read. Sally didn’t have a great childhood. It was horrific in fact. Her mother struggled with mental illness and from the beginning of I Run the reader senses that Sally was a victim of rape, but you don’t know who raped her. But it seems clear it was a family member. Father? Brother?
When Sally is in a bus accident, she has to put her life back together, including her body and soul. Not only is she dealing with physical pain, but emotional. Her past is catching up with her and she keeps trying to run from it by actually running as much as her body will let her. And even when her body needs rest from fatigue and injuries she can’t stop running. When she isn’t running, she’s drowning herself in work. Sally does everything she can to avoid dealing with her issues. And to be honest, I’m not sure I would be strong enough to handle everything that she has to handle.
At times I found myself getting very frustrated by Sally, especially when it came to running. She just doesn’t know when to quit. For instance, she completed a marathon after spraining her ankle within the first five miles. To me that sounds insane.
But that’s the thing that Farris does so well in this novel. I won’t say Sally is really insane since I’m not an expert. She does have issues. Some serious issues. Most readers won’t be able to relate to everything that Sally has going on, but many of them will find themselves drawn to Sally and cheering her on. Even when she’s being stubborn and I was shouting for her to stop running, literally and figuratively, I liked her as a person. Not only that, I wanted to help her. Give her a hug. Listen to her. Be there for her. Farris pulled me into Sally’s story and showed me that even though she was struggling she was a fighter. I love stories about people who are trying to overcome great odds. This is one of those stories.
It’s not an easy read. A lot of the novel takes place in Sally’s mind and you may have guessed, that can be a messed up place. It’s a novel that will stick with me. I couldn’t read a lot at once, but when I wasn’t reading it, I found I was thinking about it.
This is a difficult subject, but if you can handle the emotional rollercoaster I think many of you would find it worthwhile. Sally is funny, brave, loving, and probably one of the most stubborn people I’ve encountered in fiction in the past few years. She frustrated the hell out of me, but I never stopped cheering for her to succeed.
About the author: