Literary fiction fans and book groupers - take note! The acclaimed author of Bel Canto has crafted another thrilling read with the book Run.
This story begins when a prominent Bostonian family (the mayor, to be exact) adopts two young black children. Mayor Doyle and his wife Bernadette already have one son, but are thrilled to welcome more children into their home after several failed pregnancies. Yet a few short years later, Bernadette dies from cancer. Doyle lovingly raises the boys, but tries to force them into politics; disappointing to their father, the middle boy Teddy pursues the obscure topic of ichthyology (the study of fishes) and the younger, Tip, finds himself drawn to the church. The oldest and only biological son, Sullivan, is the family's black sheep that can't get his life together. One night when Doyle has dragged Tip and Teddy to yet another political function, tragedy strikes again: Tip is almost killed when he accidentally steps into the path of car. The only reason he survives is that a total stranger, a woman who was also at the speech, miraculously knocks him out of the way. Sacrificing herself, she is hit forcefully and terribly injured.
Here's where the plot really kicks in. This seemingly random event isn't random at all - as Tip, Teddy and Doyle try to help the woman get to the hospital and help her 11-year-old daughter, Kenya, the truth comes out that this woman is no stranger. She is the boys' biological mother and has been following them closely their entire lives, living a few blocks away (albeit in a much dingier, less safe neighborhood) and watching them grow up. The Doyles end up taking Kenya home while her mother undergoes surgery. The hard truth is that there is nowhere else for this poor little girl to go. Thrown together in the most stressful and bizarre of circumstances, the two families form an intriguing bond. Along the way, the author boldly attacks many controversial topics - class divisions, race, politics and family ties. Best of all, this skilled author approaches the issues from different angles, poignantly, and without being preachy. This book is fast-paced, well-written, challenging and oh so enjoyable.
Recommended by Erica Jesonis