Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Worlds of Ultra Running and Biotechnology Meet in the Fight to Save a Little Girl's Life

As the story opens, Caleb Oberest is running a 100 mile race across the mountains. He hasn't always been an ultra runner. He left his conservative job to join the cult-like training center run by Mack. The rules are strict and the punishment is expulsion. Caleb is breaking the rules, but he can't help himself, he has fallen in love with a new member and her baby daughter. When he learns that the baby has a rare and fatal genetic disease he calls on his brother Shane.

Shane works for a biotechnology company. He isn't exactly estranged from his brother, but he doesn't understand him. When Caleb explains that he needs Shane's help to save the little girl's life. Shane isn't sure what to do, but he is expecting his own baby, and he can't turn away from his brother's need.

I found this book hard to get into. The opening chapters focus on running with a graphic description of how painful running a 100 mile race is, calling on every ounce of endurance the runner has. It was interesting, but not being a runner, I found it a bit tedious.

The characters are not stereotypes, but they're not complex either. Likewise, the plot is quite straightforward. Since it revolves around the baby girl, it is easy to feel sympathetic toward the struggles of the characters. However, for my taste, it wasn't enough to keep my interest.

The book is well researched in both the areas of ultra running, and biotechnology and cancer research. The focus is on people pushing themselves beyond where they think they can go. This is what Caleb finds so addictive about running. I recommend this book if you're a runner, or interested in the sport, but if you're interest in running is low, this is probably not the book for you.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.