Resonant of Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things and Tracy Chevalier’s Remarkable Creatures, Girl Runner is an unforgettable, beautifully written novel that celebrates a woman born to reach beyond the limitations of her time. As a young runner, Aganetha Smart defied everyone’s expectations to win a gold medal for Canada in the 1928 Olympics. It was a revolutionary victory, because this was the first Games in which women could compete in track events—and they did so despite opposition. But now Aganetha Smart is in a nursing home, and nobody realizes that the frail centenarian was once a bold pioneer. When two young strangers appear asking to interview Aganetha for their film about female athletes, she readily agrees. Despite her frailty, she yearns for adventure and escape. And though her achievement may have been forgotten by history, her memories of chasing gold in Amsterdam remain sharp. But that triumph is only one thread in the rich tapestry of her life. Her remarkable story is colored by tragedy as well as joy, and in Girl Runner Carrie Snyder pulls back the layers of time to reveal how Aganetha’s amazing athleticism helped her escape from a family burdened by secrets and sorrow. However, as much as Aganetha tries, she cannot outrun her past or the social conventions of her time. As the pieces of her life take shape, it becomes clear that these filmmakers may not be who they seem. . . .

Harper 288 pages

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over 1 year ago

Releases 2/15. Grade 3.3. There's a laid-back Canadian sensibility to this tale told in flashbacks by the fictional first Canadian woman to win gold at the 1928 Olympics. Memories of her peculiar family haunt centenarian Aggie Smart through the travails of love lost and families torn apart by their secrets. A relatively satisfying ending brings things full circle. Though it does not rise to greatness as a whole, you never lose interest in the main character, beginning to end. And author Snyder's evocation of a woman's physicality is indeed, lyrical. Girl Runner releases in February 2015.