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Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Running Against Traffic~ Gaelen Vandenbergh

I like fitness, but I have never been a 'willing' runner.
I've always hated it, even in elementary school when forced to be on the relay team or compete at the track and field competitions.... running was something I was pretty good at, but hated. (I was more a high jump, shot put, triple jump kinda girl....)
I was glad when gym became a 'choice' after grade 9. (No more running that horrible track)
All these years later, while I 'wish' I liked to run outdoors, I just can't wont do it.
Maybe I just need a motivating, avid runner friend to push me.......shhh I lie... don't come near me....
I have the same attitude as Fat Amy in the movie Pitch Perfect. I prefer 'Horizontal Running' to 'Vertical Running'.
When it comes to cardio...My cross trainers and I will stick with the Elliptical, Bicycle and Zumba thank you very much! (That said, I really am jealous of those who actually run on a daily basis!)

Now that I have got that dirty little secret off my chest....

Running Against Traffic by Gaelen Vandenbergh was a pleasant read this past holiday weekend and
yet another book, I couldn't put down.

How pretty is this cover!? Answer: VERY!

First off, I love the cover. A big shout out to those behind the design! If this was my book cover, I would be blowing it up as a poster to frame for the walls.
Just sayin.
(Totally would hang it in my dream library or rec room)

Here is the book description from

 Paige Scott spent her childhood shuffled between relatives who ignored her, and her adult life hiding in her crumbling marriage to wealthy David Davenport. When David suddenly thrusts her into a remote, impoverished world, Paige is forced to face the betrayals of her past - not to mention the colorful townies of her present. Unexpected friendships and her discovery of running propel her on a jagged and comical journey toward learning how to truly live.

My Take:

What can I say? I thoroughly enjoyed this book!! It was like a breath of fresh air! I felt it didn't stick with any stereotypical recipe for a great story, it was original, clever and even with the sad/darker subject matter (loneliness, drug and alcohol abuse, divorce) it was fun read. Very well written.

The lead character Paige Scott (Davenport) remains somewhat of a mystery to the reader. Unlike a great majority of novels where you get a good solid back story within the first chapter or so.... the reader doesn't really get treated to that information until the book progresses. It's like Paige was just plucked out of thin air, dropped into the story and her life really just began. (Which is very significant to the story line) The journey Paige takes is her rebirth. She's finally finding herself and coming alive.

I love how the book begins, (tiny spoiler but it's really nothing the back cover doesn't allude to so suck it up) her Jerk husband David tells her they are going to go to his recently purchased summer home in Wells Lake for the weekend. The thing that Paige doesn't realize is that the house he bought isn't a summer home at all. The house is a complete dump and to add insult to injury, right there on the front lawn she WAS dumped. (Not cool dude, not cool!!) 
It's nothing that some vodka, wine and some of the locals can't get her through....right?

The description of Paige, Wells Lake and it's happy backwoods inhabitants reminded me of the t.v show Green Acres.
(Good luck getting THAT theme song out of your head now!!! I know you're singing it....) 

Let me tell you about some of the other characters....

Al Martin needs a place to stay, his brother Darnell is sick of having him 'temporarily' borrow his couch, he cuts a deal with Paige that he'll help fix the house if he and his friend Bryce get to move in. Al's cute and while he and Paige are attracted to one another, he's holding back. ALOT.

Bryce (aka Starfire) is an artsy, free spirit gay man who turns tricks to make money for booze and drugs. A sweet guy who's had a lousy upbringing, Bryce struggles with his demons while Paige struggles with the man-child she is suddenly raising. Talk about eye opener!

Through all her ups and thing that gets Paige through is her running. She starts on a whim and it spirals into something wonderful that helps her clear her head. Her passion for it quickly spreads through the town like wild fire. Suddenly she isn't alone in the world after all. The best part she's discovering she really does have a purpose in life and its not to be some rich guy's trophy wife. Kudos to the author for creating such an excellent tale of self discovery!

But is all this enough to keep her in Wells Lake?

From start to finish, this book has it's heartwarming moments, shocking and sad moments... quirky, fun, laugh out loud moments....If you are like me you won't be able to put it down.

One of the big questions to ask yourself after reading this novel,
If suddenly you were tossed from your world.... if you vanish without a trace, would anyone really notice or care you are gone?
Would you be able to adapt to such a drastic and sudden change? 
If you are in a book club, you MUST get your hands on this novel!! It has a lot within it's pages to generate some great discussions!

I was sad to see the novel end, so I asked author Gaelen Vandenbergh what's in store next!
The good news is there is a sequel in the works called "Running In Circles" and it's due out this summer!
I'm looking forward to it!!
I spy with my little eye an up and coming author! :)

This piece of Contemporary Fiction is one I highly recommend for both Men and Women.
I will read Running Against Traffic again and again!!

So what are you waiting for?
It's a debut novel worth the purchase!! 

Happy Reading!

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