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by Eric Walters

Fourteen-year-old Winston MacDonald is in a heap of trouble. A four-time runaway, he’s been suspended for drinking on school property. His divorced mother is at the end of her rope and hopes his dad, a veteran newspaper journalist, can talk some sense into him. Winston Sr. is off to Nova Scotia to cover a story about a 21-year-old named Terry Fox who has set himself the goal of running across Canada to raise money for cancer research. Winston Jr., although initially skeptical, begins to fall under the spell of Terry Fox and his vision and over the course of four days gets caught up in Fox’s Marathon of Hope Run. In the process, he not only makes friends with a great Canadian hero, he also learns how to face his own demons rather than running away from them.

Eric Walters’ Run is a terrific homage to Terry Fox. Walters not only gives young readers a sense of the person behind the image – the one that’s captured in monuments and photographs – but also provides a clear-sighted sense of this extraordinary young man’s dream and vision. He gently humanizes Terry Fox and offers readers both the very real young man and the hero.

The problem with Run is that Walters’ fictional story about a troubled teen feels too much like a plot device, lacking the integrity and care given to the telling of Terry Fox’s story. After Winston’s final contact with Terry – a very poignant post-run phone call – Walters drops the fictional character, finishing Terry’s story in a brief epilogue. Walters has worked hard to create a portrait of Terry Fox that will truly connect with young readers, but he didn’t spend enough time on his own storyline in the process.


Reviewer: Jeffrey Canton

Publisher: Viking/Penguin Books Canada


Price: $22

Page Count: 224 pp

Format: Cloth

ISBN: 0-14-331217-0

Issue Date: 2003-7


Age Range: ages 10-14