I Run is the story of a woman battling the demons of her childhood, an
addictive personality and an injured body in an attempt to get her inner life
I always thought that running was a healthy thing, but for Sally it’s much
more complex than that. She uses running to run from her feelings and to
punish herself because she feels worthless – the legacy of a childhood of
abuse. She also knows that she’s f***ed up and that she won’t be healed until
she faces the past. But facing the past is painful. Everything in this book is
painful because author El Farris writes excellent and passionate prose that
makes you really feel the character’s anguish and turmoil. So, this is not a
book I enjoyed. How can you enjoy someone’s pain? It’s not an entertaining
read; it’s a painful read, because you’re reading about someone’s pain. That
doesn’t mean that it’s not a good read, on the contrary, it is a very good read
if you want to get inside the head of someone like Sally. In fact, it’s a thought
provoking and deeply moving character study – the kind of great art that
comes from a tortured soul.
A book that focuses so completely on self reflection can easily become
repetitive and lacking in external action, however. In this case, the author
walks right on the edge. We are told countless times how much Sally hurts
physically and mentally, and we repeatedly witness her relentless self-
destructive thoughts. This repetition can be seen as a skillful way to reflect
Sally’s obsessive nature and give the reader a real taste of how trapped and
out of control she feels, or it can be seen as angst-ridden, over-writing. Where
you stand on this probably depends on how you are feeling at the time of
reading and whether you prefer action driven novels or character driven ones.
This is definitely the character driven kind, but though it has little in the way of
action as such, a tribute to the author’s skill is that the story has a real sense
of winning battles and moving towards a goal.
One thing is for sure; the passion in the writing makes you feel Sally’s
frustration, neediness and confusion intensely. It also gives you a real sense
of the strength she had to have to over come the residue of her past and
defeat her self-destructive tendencies.
Perhaps the real beauty of I Run is its hope. Sally runs despite her physical
and mental difficulties. She aims to run a marathon, but she also aims to get
her life together and she never gives up on that aim. To see how she achieves
this should have a therapeutic effect on readers who have experienced similar
situations. For those lucky enough not to have experienced what Sally has, it
will rouse your compassion for those who have.
I particularly like how Sally uses inner light to dissolve the darkness inside her.
It’s powerful and very effective imagery, and though for Sally it is filling herself
with God’s love, the image of light dissolving the darkness of negativity is one
that I’m familiar with from my Buddhist studies. This technique is something
that all readers can take from this book and use to help defeat their own
demons, and that makes the book more than just a story, it makes it healing.
In summary, this is a book for those who like to feel intensely and who would
like to know what may hide behind the facades of their friends or neighbors.
It’s not for those looking for a bit of entertainment, it’s for those looking for
I had a great deal of difficulty in deciding on the star rating for this book
because I can see how good it is, but at the same time, I did find the
emotionalism a little repetitive and there were times when I wanted the pacing
(not the running) to speed up, so for the sake of others like me, I give it 4
stars though for many it will undoubtedly be 5 . I preferred Farris’s other book,
Ripple, because it had a stronger plot and more external action.
I received this book free of charge from the author in return for an honest
review. I am an Awesome Indies reviewer.
See it on Kindle US here,
and on Kindle UK here.