Running for My Life is not a story about Africa or track and field athletics. It is about outrunning the devil and achieving the impossible: faith, diligence, and the desire to give back. It is the American dream come true and a stark reminder that saving one can help to save thousands more.
Lopez Lomong chronicles his inspiring ascent from a barefoot lost boy of the Sudanese Civil War to a Nike sponsored athlete on the US Olympic Team. Though most of us fall somewhere between the catastrophic lows and dizzying highs of Lomong's incredible life, every reader will find in his story the human spark to pursue dreams that might seem unthinkable, even from circumstances that might appear hopeless.
©2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. (P)2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc.
"Lopez Lomong's story is one of true inspiration. His life is a story of courage, hard work, never giving up, and having hope where there is hopelessness all around. Lopez is a true role model." (Michael Johnson, Olympic gold medalist)
"This true story of a Sudanese child refugee who became an Olympic star is powerful proof that God gives hope to the hopeless and shines a light in the darkest places. Don't be surprised if after reading this incredible tale, you find yourself mysteriously drawn to run alongside him." (Richard Stearns, president of World Vision US and author of The Hole in Our Gospel)
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY - This is a true story which begins with the kidnapping of a six-year-old boy (Lopez Lomong) from his family's church in Sudan. It ends with his graduation from college in the U.S. after competing as an American citizen in the Seoul Olympic Games. The story in between is sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes humorous, but the message is clear: If you set your goals high, work hard and believe in yourself and God, anything is within your reach.
I do not usually enjoy nonfiction, especially autobiographies, but this book was very enjoyable. After I finished, I found myself surfing the internet for more information about Lopez, his accomplishments and his charities. The story is never boring or overly detailed, but it is sometimes a bit slow. Nevertheless, I am glad I had a chance to hear it and receive its message.
NARRATION - Good job, but nothing special.
OVERALL - I recommend this book to anyone who thinks they might enjoy a good biography. I would actually rate this a 3.5 overall.
Lopez' story has a ring of very African truth, and the idiom is True to Africa. But the performance was annoyingly American, and succeeded in missing the point regularly. A worthwhile book, but it should have been read by an African
This is the story of a boy born in South Sudan that overcomes many obstacles through life. He endures kidnapping, a refugee camp, and is blessed to end up in the US. Running is a major part of his life, but his faith in God is truly the one thing that keeps him focused. He believes God has placed every person in his life and every situation there for a reason.
The book does not have any graphic scenes, but situations are described in a way that you get the point. Lopez does a wonderful job explaining everything from his childhood, his experience in coming to the US, learning about very basic things that we take for granted (such as a light switch), and his road to achieving his goals.
The narrator grew on me. At first I felt like he made the story feel somewhat 'simple.' But not long into the book I realized Lopez was young and mostly uneducated while in Africa (and when he first came to the US), so I grew an appreciation for the narrator.
I highly recommend this book. I didn't have a favorite part of the book, because the entire book is so good
The book inspired me to evaluate what I'm doing (and not doing) in my life, and to appreciate things like being able to flip a switch to turn off the lights.
This was a great story from beginning to end. It even inspired me to run more. If I could change anything though, I wish the narrator had more of an African accent.
Lopez tells his story in a way that you can't pick just one memorable moment! ALL of them are memorable. He paints the picture of his life in a way that you can see him moving through it.
When Lopez started describing his first days with his US family, and describing his thoughts at seeing his new house, I was laughing and crying at the same time. Even after so many years, you can still hear the gratitude in his words.
I have read as many books on Sudan, South Sudan, and by South Sudanese refugees as I can find! THIS is now one of my absolute favorites. Lopez describes his transition to the United States SO WELL. I think for many of us Americans, even those of us who have traveled to other countries, it's still hard for us to imagine what exactly it must be like to adjust to life here when you've never slept on a soft bed, or you don't know how to use a light switch! Lopez made that transition come alive for me in this book.
The narrator, Brandon Hirsch, did a fabulous job!!! The only reason I gave 4 stars is because I wish that Lopez had performed it himself. But it's still a fantastic performance of a book that inspired me more than I can really express!
I really liked the first 3/4 of this book.
Running for My Life is a biography of a boy who was kidnapped from his village in Africa when he was just 6. I had just finished reading Jaycee Dugald's kidnapping and imprisonment, which lasted for almost 2 decades. The contrast between her experience and Lopez "Joseph" Lomong's was very interesting to think about. Jaycee, like most american children, did not expect to be kidnapped. She was cautious, but it seemed like the chances were relatively low. According to Lopez, it was fairly normal for boys to be stolen from his and neighboring villages. Another thing I found interesting was that bothJaycee and Lopez expressed how they actually felt lucky in some way to be the one to be kidnapped because they were strong enough to take it and had spared some other child. I really want to think about this thought process a little more, in an effort to understand how people cope in extreme stress. Both Lopez and Jaycee were young and wanted someone to love them, like a parent would.
Jaycee's captor Garrido's personality was a combination of sadistic and nurturing (his version of nurture). That really confused Jaycee, who was a child, still in need of a loving parent. She took what she could get and bonded with her captor, so much so, she was unable to motivate herself to run when she had the chance. His manipulation of a vulnerable child's mind had successfully brainwashed her to such an extent, she became like one of the dogs in Marty Seligman's "learned helplessness" studies. In the study, the dog is repeatedly shocked while in a locked cage. There is no where to go. No rescue in sight. The dog learns there is no escape. Then the researchers shock the dog again but open the cage, allowing the dog to leave. It stays. Despite being provided with a passage to safety. Dogs cannot talk and tell you why they made that choice. But Jaycee used her voice clearly to explain why she made that choice. Her captor had done the worst possible thing she could have imagined. And yet, there she was, still surviving this worst possible thing. She knew she could handle this type of hell. But if she left, was there an even worse possible thing that she had not yet imagined? What she learned from her experience was that there are terrible things that can happen in life and you will never see them coming. You will be walking to your bus in the morning and BAM! A stranger shoots you with a stun gun and uses you as a sex slave for almost 20 years. So if that can happen, what the hell else can happen? Better to stay with the danger you know that end up in yet another unimaginable hell that might be even worse.
Lopez's captors did not mix their torture with any type of parental nurturing. So instead of bonding with his captors, he bonded with imaginary angels. He probably already held religious beliefs prior to be taken. So it made perfect sense that he would talk to angels and God in an effort to connect with someone, in an effort to keep hope in a terrible situation. Adding to that, he was rescued from his captivity by a church and he bonded strongly with the other "Lost Boys of Sudan" there. While at the church, he was able to get help to write an essay that would allow him to come to America, live in a house he could not imagine, with amounts of food he could not imagine, be loved by 2 supportive parents (who would also later help his own parents), go to college, and run in the Olympics. So it made perfect sense to me that Lopez would suspend logic and conclude that it was God's hand when he was freed from his captors, sent to America, and had his hamstring heal before his big race, but not God's work when he was starving in his village (Tuesdays were a good eating day because it was trash day and they could eat the trash), when he was captured, when his hamstring failed him at the end of the race causing him to lose. All of that made perfect sense to me. But toward the end of the book, he really pushed the whole God thing to such a point, it was like being forced to go to Sunday mass-- one of the sermons that lasts forever and you just want to get up and leave. It was so repetitive and annoying, and ruined the rest of the book. Though, I feel certain religious people would find that it added to the book. Those who voluntarily spend their Sunday mornings having some guy at a pulpit lecture to them about morality are probably a better target audience for this book.
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