Wednesday, August 22, 2012

5 STAR Book Review: Running for My Life by Lopez Lomong


Rarely will you hear a review this glowing from me.  In case you missed the memo, I'm a bit of a book snob. I have pretty high standards for what I read and I feel that American publishing, especially "Christian publishing" has set its standards far to low. I'm perfectly happy offering my honest opinion of the books I review because, as I'm required by law to tell you, I'm not required to give a positive review of the books I'm provided review copies of. All that to say, you should take note how rare it is for me to say something like I'm about to say:

Best read of the summer.

Hands down. No comparison.  This is the best book I read all summer.  According to my Goodreads feed, there's been a great deal of competition, but this one blows them all out of the water. This book doesn't offer the prettiest prose, nor is it the most eloquent or well-organized memoir ever written, but the story is so compelling, the author so endearing that none of that matters a bit.  To give you an idea of how ican'tputitdown this book is, I started reading it around 7 pm yesterday. It's now not even 9:30 am and I'm already writing a review and looking up how to support Sudanese children. I hung on every word. I laughed. I cried.  I want to meet this guy.  I'd say I want to run with him, but I'm pretty sure I'd be a boring little warm up jog for him even when I'm running flat out.  (His 5K time is more than 10 minutes faster than mine. That's nuts.)

AAAAAAanyway. . . In Running for my Life, Lopez Lomong shares his moving story of how he went from kidnapped refugee in Sudan at the age of 6 to competing in the 2008 Olympics as an American.  Lomong brings to attention the atrocities and hardships that his family and thousands of others in his home country face every day. The stark comparison to life in America is enough to make anyone take pause and thank God for the ridiculous abundance we are buried in here. 

While Lomong speaks of God's movement and blessing in his life, he does so in a way that is natural, not preachy. There is an appealingly wide-eyed innocence to his style, in spite of the circumstances from which he arose. Lomong reminds his audience several times that he loves to talk because he loves people. This trait shines through. The entire book feels like listening to the author share with a good friend the details of his life.

I cannot begin to tell you how strongly I believe you (no matter who you are) should read this book.  Seriously.  I don't say that very often. I think everyone. . . absolutely everyone. . . needs to have a copy of this book on their shelf. And no, you may not borrow my copy.  It's on the "don't lend" shelf because I don't want it to disappear. Which means there are a few things you need to go out and do right now.  The first thing you need to do is buy a copy of this book here. The second thing you need to do is to clear your schedule for about a day. Then, you need to check out Lomong's website and see what you can do to get involved.  I already told my sister that we are going to run one of the races listed on the site, so expected a fundraising email from me at some point. 

Booksneeze.com provided me with a reviewer copy of this book, but I really truly loved it this much. If you need more convincing, go check out the other reviews on this book. I'm not the only one who thinks this book should be read by absolutely everyone.

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