Book Review: The Jade Rabbit

This isn’t a running book… it’s a novel.  But the reason it earns a spot on this blog is that the main character, Janice, is a runner.

Now, here’s where I depart a little from my regular thinking… see, I often tell the people I coach that they are runners, no matter how much of the training they run.  They got out and tried, thus they are a runner.  But I have different standards for book characters.  If a character goes out to run once in a blue moon, but then follow it up with a Big Mac… I don’t consider them runners.  Kind of a strange double-standard, I know.  I think the difference comes in how the author presents it.


Anyway, Janice in The Jade Rabbit by Mark Matthews IS a runner.  She is training for the Detroit Marathon in the book, shooting to go sub-3 hours in her race.  So throughout the book she goes out for long runs, tempo runs, track workouts, etc.

But that’s not all it is… Jan was orphaned as an infant in China, then adopted by American parents.  She works as a social worker in a shelter for kids who have nowhere else to go.  Between her own demons on feelings about being left behind by her birth mother as a baby, her desires to have a family with her husband and the troubles of the children she helps, running is a way that she can process all of these emotions.

There’s a reason the saying “Running is cheaper than therapy” exists, it’s true.  (Although, I’ve always added on the line “Some of us need both” because that’s true too!)

I got a little annoyed at the main character a few times during the book, about how she wanted a family yet pregnancy was elusive and she kept training hard.  I kept thinking that she should back down her training… but by the end I realized that she needed that hard running to work through things so that she could eventually become a mother.  Inability to conceive doesn’t necessarily root all in physical things, you need to be emotionally ready.  (I guess emotional issues can manifest as physical issues though… so it becomes a physical ailment!)

The book kept me entertained and I was frustrated when I lost track of it during my move… I was half way through and needed to know what happened!  Fortunately I unearthed it and was able to get some resolution!  The book is only $10.99 for the paperback on Amazon or you can get the Kindle or Nook versions for just $3.99 right now (DEAL!)

Thanks to the author, Mark Matthews, for giving me the opportunity to read his book!

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