Fast Girl, written by Suzy Favor Hamilton (with the help of Sarah Tomlinson), describes Favor Hamilton's life as an Olympic runner and as a high-end Vegas escort. The youngest child in a large Midwest family, Favor Hamilton details her early life as a runner and her manic drive for perfection. She wanted to win, and win always, and seeing that she couldn't and feeling she'd fail those she loved, Hamilton staged a fall in the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Her competitive running career over, she then became a mother, and soon after that, an escort. With Fast Girl, Favor Hamilton informs readers most specifically about bi-polar disorder, but also the effects of untreated mental illness at large. Her book is honest and urgent, and seems essential for anyone who has dealt or is dealing with mental illness, either personally or secondhand.
According to the librarian, I was first to check out this book. She'd put it on the shelf just thirty minutes before I found it in the "NEW" section, just to the left of the entrance. This book was great. I read it in a day and a half.
As I prepare to move straight into 2017, job-hunting and apartment-hunting and (maybe if I'm rich enough), dog-hunting, I can say right now that I hope I read plenty of books as compelling as this one. I do have to ask myself, however, just why I couldn't put it down.
I haven't read a book that fast in a very, very long time. Not because I don't have the time--I could make the time--but because, I think, I get too distracted; the words jumble on the page, the subject matter confuses me, the meaning of the story hides a little too well behind the language.
This book is no Hemingway. Nor Marilynne Robinson or Michael Pollan. But I'm impressed with it. Because this book is brave. Favor Hamilton's story could not have been an easy one to tell, and she tells it with clarity, and great honesty. I do still consider what book deals she could have been given, how much money was offered her across the table: but I'd rather put those thoughts aside and try and relate to this author as just another human being. And my hunch? That's what most people want in the first place--to read a book they can somehow relate to. I'm beginning to understand what I WANT from a book: I want to feel like I know the writer, like he or she is talking directly to me. I want to feel like the world has gotten smaller and somehow, walking in an airport or down a sidewalk, I feel a little less different and a little more informed.
I'm excited for 2017! I've decided to start the 52-18 challenge with another memoir: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami.
Happy reading, and see you in 2017.