“The Running Dream”–powerful and encouraging


Haeleigh Bayle, Reporter

“The Running Dream,” by Wendelin Van Draanen is a powerful fictional novel about a young rising track star, sixteen-year-old  Jessica Carlisle. After losing the bottom half of one of her legs in an accident, Jessica falls into the belief that she will never run again. And to her, there is no point in living unless you are able to run. Through countless challenges and trial and error, Jessica must make the ultimate choice: Work harder than ever to get back into running, or admit defeat?

This story was so powerful in many different aspects. For instance, as a runner, I know what it is like to feel the freedom of running and the joy it brings. However, I also know that pain and discomfort it can bring as well. So reading this story about how Jessica endured a traumatic event, I was able to gain a whole new love for running because I am able to truly appreciate the opportunity I have to be able to have two fully-functioning legs.

Her story (although it is a fictional piece) was beyond moving. Through her tragedy and depression she was able to become friends with a girl in her grade named Rosa who has cerebral palsy, gain an unbreakable friendship, and strive to run again. On top of it all, she kept having hope that things would be better. Her story proved just how important it is to have resilience in a life-changing event.

Overall, there weren’t any parts in this book I would have suggested changing because it was precisely thought out and the plot was developed perfectly. I especially loved the relatable attitude Jessica had throughout the story that made her character a true and believable sixteen-year-old girl. The story kept me reading attentively the whole time, so much so that I had a really hard time putting it down. The story also was a unique read; it wasn’t the typical teenage-girl-drama story– it was real, down to earth problems that helped to shed light on the struggles people go through. The ending of the story was perfect, it gave room to let the reader’s mind create the ending they wanted, but it also had a directed ending point it could have concluded with. Although this book is an exceptionally easy read, it is still wonderfully written and can inspire people of all ages.

All in all, this was an amazing and powerful (fictional) phenomenon that was flawlessly written. “The Running Dream” deserves a most definite 5/5 stars. This book teaches the importance of resilience and patience. Not only did it win the race to becoming the best running book I have ever read, it won the race to becoming a literary piece I will never forget.