Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, January 19, 2015

Carrie Snyder gives us a Girl Runner worth keeping up with

In Carrie Snyder's debut novel,Girl Runner, we met Aganetha "Aggie" Smart at the age of 104, who is whiling away the remainder of her life alone in a nursing home. When two young people sign her out for a day trip, claiming to be family, Aggie is aware enough to know that they are not who they seem.

However, she is game for one last adventure and willing to go along for the ride this brother and sister(named Kaley and Max) act are taking her on. It turns out that both of them are interested in Aggie's past glory as an Olympic runner for Canada back in 1928, with hopes that making a film about Aggie will help raise money for Kaley to achieve her own gold medal dreams.

For Aggie, this becomes a time to run through her memories as quickly as she used to run across the fields of her family's farm. Becoming an Olympian was something she sort of stumbled into and for a woman of that time period, such a thing was almost like a fairy tale come true:

Aggie found herself at the age of 16 becoming the center of attention from many outside sources, which made her uncomfortable yet it also gained her some friends who weren't part of her family back home, one best friend in particular.

Due to having her training sponsored by a prominent candy company in Toronto, she meets Glad, the niece of the owner who is also on the team and she instantly takes a shine to Aggie. Their relationship is based on a friendly rivalry, with often times Aggie allowing Glad to take the lead both on and off the track.

As they both achieve mutual success(and even a boyfriend for Aggie), the bonds of friendship between Glad and Aggie are challenged almost harsher than the Olympic trials before them demand:

As Aggie continues her unexpected journey with Kaley and Max, more of her past life blurs into her present day thoughts until she reaches the end of one long road only to discover a brand new path before her.

While the story does have shifts in time, it's not hard to keep track of the narrative flow. Snyder's writing is as swift and fluid as any professional runner's pace, with the swirl of former events converging to make a heartfelt conclusion sing true. The tone of the book is easy to fall into step with and at times, hard to put down.

 One of the engaging aspects of her leading lady Aggie is her intense need and desire to run, not just for athletic purposes but to embrace the freedom that it gives her. Running is a strong emotional release for Aggie, especially during times of either intense joy or extreme stress, and that urge is touchingly human for such an emotionally remote character to possess:

Girl Runner is also a tribute to the value of old age and examining even those painful moments of the past in order to see how far you've come in life.

There are family secrets that slowly emerge over the course of the story(not to mention personal regrets and lost loves) that do more than connect the plot dots, yet are touching tales in and of themselves.

With Carrie Snyder also being a short story writer, I can see how this novel might have began as a series of interconnected tales but as a novel. However, I am happy that this book become the lovely novel that it is.

Girl Runner will be released in early February and I urge all readers to reserve their copies now. This beautiful story of one woman's journey through time and space is one that you'll kick yourself for if you don't book your passage as soon as may be:

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