Saturday, May 24, 2014

Book Review: 4:09:43 by Hal Higdon

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This book is a short, quick read, and if you're interested in what goes into running a marathon you'll definitely learn a lot. The issue I have with it is that I was hoping for a bit more about the bombings themselves, and in that respect 4:09:43 simply doesn't deliver. Much of it feels disjointed (despite being in chronological order), and I can only assume that's due to the fact that the author drew much of his information from Facebook posts, Twitter feeds, blog entries, and the like. Many times his references to where the information was coming from (particularly if it was from Facebook) were jarring enough to pull me out of the 'story' entirely.

The build-up to the event that gave this book its title fills the majority of the pages and is pretty much entirely from the perspective of those running it. This, along with the pulling of information from Facebook and blogs and whatnot, made for a great premise...but while Mr. Higdon is a talented technical writer, there is a distinct lack of emotion to his coverage of this very emotional event. And I don't just mean the bombings themselves, but the race as well - I'm fairly certain if I'd trained the way these people did only to have this historical and emotional event ruined for me, I'd feel a lot more strongly about it than is depicted in these pages.

Additionally, for such a short book the author chose to follow way too many people. It was nearly impossible to remember or connect with any of them, and I do feel that the number of stories/names included should have been trimmed down quite a bit - that way, those who *were* included also could have had their stories beefed up.

Overall, this is a runner's book, and I'm not sure I would suggest it for those who don't run. That said, if you do - and especially if you're a marathoner - you're still likely to enjoy it despite its flaws. 2.5/5 stars. Pin It

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