Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review: Girl Runner by Carrie Snyder

Title: Girl Runner
Author: Carrie Snyder
Year Published: 2015

Genre: Adult fiction
Pages: 267
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2015 Google Reading map): Canada

FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the TLC Tours for a review

Summary (from the back of the book): As a young runner, Aganetha Smart defied everyone's expectations to win a gold medal for Canada in the 1928 Olympics. It was a revolutionary victory, because this was the first Games in which women could compete in track events--and they did so despite opposition. But now Aganetha is in a nursing home, and nobody realizes that the frail centenarian was once a bold pioneer.

When two young strangers appear, asking to interview Aganetha for their film about female athletes, she readily agrees. Despite her frailty, she yearns for adventure and escape. And though her achievement may have been forgotten by history, her memories of chasing gold in Amsterdam remain sharp. But that triumph is only one thread of the rich tapestry of her life. Her remarkable story is colored by tragedy as well as joy, and in Girl Runner Carrie Snyder pulls back the layers of time to reveal how Aganetha's amazing athleticism helped her escape from a family burdened by sadness and sorrow. However, as much as Aganetha tries, she cannot outrun the past or the social conventions of her time. As the pieces of her life take shape, it becomes clear that these film makers may not be who they seem....

Review: I am part of a TLC Tour for this book, so thank you TLC for including me! I love the idea of this book: a trailblazing athletic woman in the 1920s. Awesome! In some ways I wish I had read the author's note before reading the novel since Snyder explains the connection between the novel and history (women's distance running in the Olympics, the Canadian women's track team in 1928, etc). I did wonder throughout the book how close to the truth the storyline was and I didn't know until the end that though the characters aren't real (except one), the concepts are.

Aganetha is a complex character caught between her world at home with a strange family: lots of childhood deaths; a dad who is constantly tearing down bits of the house to build odd structures; a mom who helps the pregnant and birthing women; bitter fighting with siblings; and more. Escaping her small town and her family is what Aganetha really needs! I so badly wanted her to find love, a job, athletic success, and a way out of her small town.

My only issue with the book is that there was a lot of back of forth through time, from the modern-day filmmakers to Aganetha's childhood to her adulthood, sometimes I got a bit confused as to which time period we were in since it would change without warning.

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