Wendelin Van Draanen takes a dream, a tragedy, and an incredible community, and manages to weave them together into a novel for any and all readers that are or have ever gone through a loss. The powerful impact that The Running Dream leaves on its audience is that one doesn’t have to go through a loss themselves in order to acknowledge others that have. Jessica loves to run, but in the beginning of the novel she faces a tragedy that leaves her barely able to walk. New friends, old friends, family, and an inspiring coach all pitch in to help her get back on her feet and to believe in herself again. Not only does Jessica realize that she can overcome a lot, she recognizes that her loss does not define her. She also begins to understand that disabilities don’t define those who exist with them and all anyone with a disability wants is to be seen for they are, and not for what they lack. The Running Dream is perfect for those who don’t understand disabilities, want to understand them better, or are feeling debilitated by them. It’s an inspiring novel that gives the reader a new appreciation of what they already have and have probably taken for granted.
– Nikki Grossfeld
Draanen, Wendelin Van. The Running Dream. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. Print.