RUNNING IN HEELS: BOOK REVIEW
A BOOK REVIEW by Karen Wood
We’ve all heard stories of the difficulties faced by early pioneers coming to America.They left their homeland in search of a better life.
The search for a better life continues today as people from other countries continue to come to the United States in search of the American dream. But coming to a new country is always plagued with challenges. Most of these challenges center on cultural differences as people work to ‘fit in’ to a new society.
Running in Heels is the story of a young woman’s resolve to break the chain of poverty and abuse. With an alcoholic mother who has deep emotional issues and makes bad choices, Mary’s life becomes challenging at every turn. Her Puerto Rican father, step-mother, and maternal grandparents provide positive examples and unconditional love.
I’ve heard that every child, in order to succeed, needs at least one person who believes in him or her. Mary’s maternal Grandmother is this person. Not only does she believe in her but she is a good role model. There is a bond that gives Mary strength to hold her dream as she fights her demons and rebels against authority. Running in Heels shares similarities to most children’s experiences of growing up as they work to understand and accept the world they live in.
This memoir is well written with good use of dialogue to bring the story to life. Italics and capitalized words help the reader visualize emotional interaction. Each chapter starts with an interesting hook that makes one want to read on. Spanish words interspersed now and then in the dialogue reminds us that there’s another culture present.
References to global world events and personal world events happening simultaneously is very powerful as it reminds us that life goes on regardless of our personal problems and situations. While younger readers might not relate, older readers may find the reference to S&H stamps triggers a memory long forgotten.
The last part of the book drags a little because the chapter describing her mother’s irresponsible behavior was already written many pages back. This takes away from Mary’s story.
Some readers may also find, as I did, that Donny turning 180o so quickly is a bit “too good to be true”; likewise that a Jehovah Witness so readily joins a Christian church. However, to be fair, it is obvious that Mary has a strong support system in her church community.
Running in Heels provides a better understanding of alcoholic families, and the trials of poverty and being different. This is a story of grit and grace, resolve and success. Recommended reading.
© Karen Wood, Hamilton, Ontario