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The Memory of Running
The Memory of Running
Author: Ron McLarty
Smithy is a 279-pound, hard-drinking, chain-smoking, 43-year-old misfit who works in a G.I. Joe factory putting arms and legs on the action heroes. He is also the most beguiling anti-hero to come into view in a long, long time. — The first sentence of the book is: "My parents' Ford station wagon hit a concrete divider on U.S. 95 outside Biddeford...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780143036685
ISBN-10: 0143036688
Publication Date: 12/27/2005
Pages: 368
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 113 ratings
Publisher: Penguin
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Memory of Running on + 168 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
Oh I loved this book, mostly because I love a good schlub!! The main character, Smithy, is great. He's an "overweight, friendless, chain-smoking forty-three year old drunk..."...just from that description I was hooked, and had to read the book. It did not disappoint. The story was quirky, moving, sad, joyous, and all things in between, as poor Smithy sets off on his bicycle across the country on a personal mission. Enroute, amid the stories of the people and landscapes he encounters along the way, he reflects back to tell the story of his childhood and youth, his prom, his Vietnam experiences, etc., all the while revealing how his parents and his sister (and one pivitol neighbor) were so instrumental to his life. I love to read "debut novels"--since I believe these are the books that burned the longest in the writer's soul, and this was a debut novel. I highly recommend it, and will definitely seek out others since written by Mr. McLarty.

***** Five stars!
aerikaj avatar reviewed The Memory of Running on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Great story. The pace of the book was like the ride of the main character, slow and steady but very interesting.
reviewed The Memory of Running on + 412 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I absolutely loved this book, the story of Smithy Ide's bike trip across the United States to claim the body of his deceased, long-lost sister. Along the way we learn about Smithy's tragic family and his life and the series of unfortunate incidents that seem to befall him on a regular basis. Nonetheless, it is a hopeful story of indiviual redemption and you really cheer for our protagonist.
reviewed The Memory of Running on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This book started off slowly, and I thought it was odd...but a few chapters in it grabbed my attention and I couldn't put it down. The plot twists and turns were fantastic, and I really cared about the characters. It reminded me of Forrest Gump in a way...a man on a quest.
reviewed The Memory of Running on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This was a great book. It was interesting and quirky. Just the way I like it.
Read All 60 Book Reviews of "The Memory of Running"

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catscritch avatar reviewed The Memory of Running on + 158 more book reviews
READ IT - It resonates

I dont remember where I picked up this book, and when I finally started reading, I was a bit put off by the constant derogatory remarks on Smithy Ides weight. Even Smithy gets into the act.

But as I read on, I realized that Smithy is full of self-loathing but doesnt seem to realize where that self-destructive attitude originates. As circumstances start off horribly wrong for him, he begins a journey that he doesnt understand. Just a need to propel himself across the street on his old bicycle, a once beloved object of his young mastery. Its a rough start but as he awkwardly progresses, memories of his youth return and in the quiet recesses of his mind, he comes to terms with the terrible consequences of growing up in a damaged family. Where all the focus is set upon his beloved and mentally ill sister.

How much can a family give of themselves to try to save someone so troubled? Apparently, if youre not careful, you can lose it all and still not make a difference.

I read this book some 3 months back and it lingers with me still. I believe it to be one of the most loving, confusing, life-affirming novels I have read in a very long time. Quite worth the bumpy bike ride!
reviewed The Memory of Running on + 636 more book reviews
I loved this book so much I hardly know where to begin... It had a terrific premise and even better execution... Smithy in some ways reminded me of a less-socially-apt C. which may sound unkind, but Smithy is a noble character and quite heroic in his own way. Honestly, I would recommend this to anyone, really - it was that good. I sill can't get over the fact that the one episode of _Sex & the City_ that he was in was none other than my favorite episode, "Hot Child in the City" - what are the chances?! And the story of how this book got published (he couldn't find a publisher and ended up recording it himself as an audiobook that somehow Stephen King heard and pushed through his own publisher) is a great! All in all, I just loved this book and I sincerely hope he writes more!
loverofnature2008 avatar reviewed The Memory of Running on + 11 more book reviews
Hard to grasp his story line when first starting this book. Wasn't till I was about 3/4 of the way done that I finally was able to really get into the characters and their relationship to each other.
reviewed The Memory of Running on + 12 more book reviews
I didn't like this book wehn I first started it. I disliked the main character, seeing him as weak and ineffective. As the story matures, I grew to like the main character. The book was pretty good. I especially liked that it was set in Rhode Island, which is nearby my hometown.
reviewed The Memory of Running on + 20 more book reviews
Wonderfully written story of a man shaken to his core by the sudden death of both of his parents. A good read especially for anyone who has suffered grief and trying to "grow up" after the death of their parents.
reviewed The Memory of Running on + 44 more book reviews
Wonderful character development, and a touching story of personal growth and rediscovery. Best of all, McLarty, who is a seasoned character actor, reads the book himself on the audio version.
JTG avatar reviewed The Memory of Running on + 280 more book reviews
Great book: very vivid characters.
reviewed The Memory of Running on + 48 more book reviews
I expected more from the book. It was good and a fast read and I was captivated, but I was just left feeling it ended too easily. There were many stories within the story that held my interest and made it a page turner, but I was a bit disappointed by the ending.
reviewed The Memory of Running on + 6 more book reviews
This was by far, one of the best books I've ever read. I read his next novel, Travler, which was equally good. Happy Reading!
reviewed The Memory of Running on + 6 more book reviews
Loved this book, the writing, the adventure, the sweetness of the characters.
reviewed The Memory of Running on
I really liked this book. An opening your heart to life and accept what comes approach to living.