Long time readers of this blog will know that Ann Patchett is among my favorite contemporary American authors. I absolutely adore her work. So, I picked up Run expecting to fall in love once again.
I can tell you that it didn't disappoint. Patchett has such a talent for crafting characters so loveable and lifelike that you can't help but get swept up in their story. The main story of Run starts when one of the main characters, Tip Doyle, is saved from an oncoming SUV in a snowstorm by a woman who turns out to be his biological mother. The whole family is turned upside-down by the reappearance of this woman that none of them had given any thought to for twenty years.
The crux of the story takes place over the course of twenty-four hours with the first and last chapters taking place far in the past and far in the future, respectively. What I love about it is that the book perfectly captures the way that a person's entire life can change in such a small amount of time. On any ordinary day, the river of life flows continuously in a straight line. But then there are those moments, tiny specs of time in the grand scheme of things that change everything and suddenly the line isn't so straight any more.
At the end of the book, Kenya, the little girl who's mother saved Tip from the SUV, ponders how life would have been different if her mother hadn't been there. I love Patchett's answer to this, "The present life was only a matter of how things had stacked together in the past, and all Kenya knew for sure was that if she had the chance to hand over everything she had now in order to regain what was lost there would be no words for how fast she would open up her hands."
That split second decision made by one character in the book changed the lives of all the rest, but it was the only way that their story could have ended the way that it did. The story is so beautifully written and so profoundly true, it makes you stop and think about your own life.
Okay, I'm done gushing now. But I hope you get the idea: this is a wonderful book and you need to read it now.