Honey, Do You Need a Ride? Confessions of a Fat Runner is the story of Jennifer Graham’s 25-year pursuit of running. I accepted the book for review because I had hoped it would live up to the PR pitch:
Like any memoir worth its salt, it’s about more than it appears to be. Yes, it’s about running, but it’s also about a woman dealing with a tough divorce and finding herself suddenly a single mom.
I would say that Confessions of a Fat Runner is definitely a memoir worth its salt. The things that exceeded my expectations were numerous:
- The humor — I laughed out loud several times — many — enough that I’ve included it in the “humor” category.
- The plot — With a memoir, especially one such as this which figures around a definite topic, sometimes you end up with more of a collection of essays than a story. Though each entry mostly stands alone, they each build upon the other, and it’s definitely a book that you want to finish, to see how her running progresses, how her personal life resolves.
- Her candor — A good memoir offers transparency without crossing the line into TMI. Graham does this. She writes about the heartbreak of divorce and her effort to go to any length to reconcile without sharing private details.
- Her encouragement — Yes, I’m a runner. Sort of. Years ago, I had no desire to run. My husband runs. I had friends who ran. I couldn’t image anything worse. And then as life became busier and more overwhelming, and as I saw friends go from jiggly to joggers, the idea of pounding the pavement became more appealing. After a few false starts over the last few years, I can say that now in 2013, I’ve met some of my running goals, and I hope to continue. As Jennifer shared in her guest post yesterday Books to Make You a Runner, encouragement is key. And the tone of her book is encouraging. She does talk some shop, about clothes and shoes and routes and races, but it’s her love of running, her commitment to it, that most spoke to me.
- The donkeys — Really. Who isn’t intrigued by a book which features donkeys? One of the chapters she’s made available to preview is Incriminating Hoofprints. Read it to get a sense of her style and to meet the donkeys (A mild swear word is used at the beginning of this chapter. There are a few mild swear words throughout, but it’s not excessive or gratuitous). Then, to get an idea how the essays build on each other, you can read How Nike Made Me a Terrorist, which appears several chapters later. These excerpts are great representations of the book as whole. If you like them, I feel confident that you’ll love the book.
Can we talk about the f-word? It makes me uncomfortable too. As you can see from the picture in her guest post Books to Make You a Runner, she’s not obese. No, she’s not svelte, and her efforts to lose weight are not simply an exercise in vanity, but “fat”? Graham has struggled with her weight her whole life (another prominent theme of the book), and so she’s completely self-aware and a bit self-deprecating about the issue. She’s not really making herself the butt of her own jokes, nor is she at all looking down on others who struggle with their weight. I think she’s sort of owning it. And since a “fat runner” as compared to the typical long and lean type, is a broad spectrum (no pun intended, but feel free to laugh anyway), I came around to acceptance of the title.
Check out her guest post, on books that have inspired her as a runner.
I’ve just found out that I also have a giveaway copy to offer one of you (U.S. shipping only). I’m thrilled! Just leave a comment here if you are interested in winning your own copy of Honey, Do You Need a Ride? Confessions of a Fat Runner. If you leave a comment on her guest post, I’ll give you an additional entry. The giveaway is closed.