________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 31 . . . . April 13, 2012



Eric Walters.
Toronto, ON: Penguin Canada, 2001.
114 pp., pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 0-14-331218-9.

Subject Heading:
Fox, Terry, 1958-1981-
Juvenile fiction.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Jeannine Stickle.

*** /4



“I really came because I was worried. Worried that you were going to do the wrong thing.”

And just what do you think is the wrong thing?” I asked.


I laughed. “And this coming from the guy running across Canada.”

“There's a big difference. I'm not running away from anything.” He paused. “Are you planning on running away?”

I didn't answer right away. “What will you do if I say yes?” I asked.

“I guess I'll try to convince you that you shouldn't.”

“And if you can't convince me?” I asked.

“I'm hoping I can.”

“But if you can't?”

He took a deep breath. “Then I'm going to have to stop you.”

I looked past Terry toward the door. The arcade wasn't big or wide but there was probably enough space for me to dodge by him and get out. Probably. Maybe.

“I know what you're thinking,” Terry said. “Think you can make it?”

I didn't answer.

“Maybe you can. You're definitely quicker than I am. You proved that on the basketball court.” He paused. “But you also have to figure that unless you're planning on running more than twenty-six miles tonight, eventually I'm going to catch you.”

In spite of the seriousness of the situation, I suddenly burst out laughing, and Terry smiled. “And if you do decide to run and you manage to get by me to the door, I need you to do me a favour,” he continued.

“What sort of favour?”

He nodded. “Could you at least run in that direction? He said, pointing off to his left. “That's west. So if I do have to chase you at least we'll be heading in the right direction.”

Fourteen-year-old Winston has been troubled since his parents divorced two years earlier, but a chance encounter with Terry Fox inspires him to get his life back in order. When the book opens, Winston is being returned to his mother's house by the police after he has run away from home yet again. The officers suggest that he stay with his estranged father for a few days, giving Winston and his mom time to address the situation calmly. Winston's father, a famous newspaper reporter, takes his son with him to report on what he believes to be nothing more than a fluffy human-interest story. But when they meet and interview Terry Fox and Doug Alward, father and son are inspired by them, and Winston's father writes the news article that brings national attention to the Marathon of Hope. During the time that Winston and his father spend with Doug and Terry, they restore the bond that they shared before Winston's parents divorced, and Winston also forms a friendship with Terry and Doug. These connections inspire him to work to improve his relationship with his parents and to apply himself to school and the sports he once enjoyed.

     This novel was written with permission from the Terry Fox Foundation. In the forward, the Foundation members (Terry's family) state that they were initially unsure about the author's decision to tell Terry's story to children through a work of fiction rather than nonfiction, but that Eric Walters' writing showed them that this was the best way to relate the story to a younger audience. This novel proves that to be true. Winston is a likeable character who is easy to relate to, and through his eyes, Eric Walters has brought Terry and Doug to life more vividly than would have been possible in a work of nonfiction, giving the reader a more complete picture of the importance of the Marathon of Hope. People were not only inspired by Terry's athletic feat, which would be difficult for any human being, let alone someone with one 1980's-model artificial leg, but people were also inspired by Terry’s determination, his strong moral values, and his kind personality, all portrayed faithfully in Run. The author borrowed Terry's dialogue from speeches, videos, and writings whenever possible and portrayed the Marathon of Hope with historical accuracy, only deviating to alter the time line in a few small ways to work better with Winston's story. After the novel, the book also includes Terry's letter to the Canadian Cancer Society asking them to support his run, a timeline of the Marathon of Hope with excerpts from Terry's journal and a map of his run. The forward by the Terry Fox Foundation and the afterward by Eric Walters also provide good information about the novel, the facts about the Marathon of Hope and Terry's life.

     Run will be enjoyed by a wide audience, including readers who love sports fiction, those who are interested in Terry Fox, or any readers who like a story with vivid characters. It is recommended for purchase in public and school libraries.


Jeannine Stickle received her MLIS from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, and is working in a library in Eugene, OR.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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