If you’re going to read Girl Runner, cancel all of your plans and get comfortable because you are not going to want to put this book down. Agnetha Smart’s story is so captivating and consumed me so fully, I read the book in 2 days and I’m a slow reader!
* CONTAINS SPOILERS
Carrie Snyder is a Canadian author whose She blogs at Obscure Canlit Mama.
At the age of 104, Agnetha Smart may be frail of both body and mind, but her memories of a life full of love and disconnection, glory and failure, and running – always running toward or away from something – remains deep within. From a tumultuous childhood with her family in rural Ontario, to a working girl in the big city of Toronto, to competing as a Canadian athlete in the 1920 Olympics in Amsterdam, Aggie always strives to push the limits that try to restrain her. It takes a lifetime of disappointment and regret for Aggie to realize that it was not her destiny to be anchored to one person or one place. She was born to keep moving.
Girl Runner is simply a damn good story. I really liked Aggie Smart because she is a spirited girl who is painfully and intuitively aware that no one understands her. In her winter years and as a more confident woman, she is brazen and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. There was something so satisfying about following her journey from barefooted little girl to don’t-count-her-out-just-yet centenarian. Possibly because I am a woman on my own journey who could relate to some of the things Aggie experienced and felt.
So much happens in Girl Runner, it may have been nice if some storylines were fleshed out a little more fully. For instance, I would have liked to have learned more about sister Frannie’s affair or brother Robbie’s secret family.
Although Carrie Snyder’s narrative slips back and forth in time and location, the story remains solid and coherent. It almost felt like I was caught up in the delirium of Aggie Smart’s memories, tumbling through the years as she looks back on her life, yet completely understanding how all of the pieces fall together. I loved this book from start to finish, and there was very little I disliked. As a very pleasant introduction to Carrie Snyder’s work, I highly recommend Girl Runner.
NOTE: I received a copy of Girl Runner with much thanks to House of Anansi, but this in no way influenced the thoughts and opinions expressed in my review.