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The Memory of Running | [Ron McLarty]

The Memory of Running

In late 2003, in his column in Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King called The Memory of Running "the best novel you won't read this year." This glowing endorsement of the audiobook resulted in Ron McLarty receiving a $2 million two-book deal from Viking Penguin. Also, Warner Brothers has shelled out big bucks for the movie rights to The Memory of Running, for which McLarty will write the script.
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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning actor and playwright Ron McLarty is well known for his audiobook performances. What fewer people realize is that he's also an accomplished author. In this wonderfully quirky novel, available exclusively as an audiobook, McLarty takes readers on a quest to find hope and redemption with an unlikely hero.

Smithson Ide is 43 years old and weighs 279 pounds when his parents die in an accident. Lost in memories of childhood, Smithson uncovers his old Raleigh bicycle in the garage and begins a cross-country journey to find his beautiful, but tragically psychotic sister. Keenly aware of how ridiculous he must appear, Smithson nonetheless perseveres through a journey that is hilarious and horrifying. It is a trip, he soon realizes, that might provide his last chance to become the person he has always wanted to be.

In late 2003, in his column in Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King called The Memory of Running "the best novel you won't read this year." This glowing endorsement of the audiobook resulted in Ron McLarty receiving a $2 million two-book deal from Viking Penguin. Also, Warner Brothers has shelled out big bucks for the movie rights to The Memory of Running, for which McLarty will write the script.

©2002 Ron McLarty; (P)2002 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"Ron McLarty's The Memory of Running is the best novel you won't read this year. But you can experience it, and I'm all but positive that you'll thank me for the tip if you do....What I hope is that you'll order a copy and experience it for yourself....It's bighearted and as satisfying as one of your mom's home-cooked Sunday dinners." (Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (2903 )
5 star
 (1212)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.0 (1083 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (1090 )
5 star
 (528)
4 star
 (333)
3 star
 (139)
2 star
 (51)
1 star
 (39)
Performance
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  •  
    Kim Spokane, WA, United States 12-21-11
    Kim Spokane, WA, United States 12-21-11 Member Since 2009

    Addicted to audiobooks & podcasts. 5 Stars=I Loved It, 4 Stars=Enjoyed it Thoroughly, 3=Kinda Good, 2=Bad/Boring, 1=Complete Waste of Credit

    HELPFUL VOTES
    536
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    269
    110
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    104
    16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent !!"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book - extremely well written and even better that it is narrated by the author. Ron McClarty does an excellent job of transporting you through the emotional and physical journey of the main character. Honest, authentic, and simple - this story will make you think about the adventure that may lie right outside your door if only you had the courage to go and find it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Irving Los Angeles, CA, USA 05-07-06
    Irving Los Angeles, CA, USA 05-07-06 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A Disappointment"

    I tried and tried to like this book. But I couldn't. I kept hoping it would end, but it went on endlessly and aimlessly, until it got the better of me. I had to quit.

    Ron McLarty is a wonderful reader, and he has a glimmer of hope as a writer. However, he needs to take plot and character lessons. The book had no plot and, on the few occasions when it tried at plot, it failed. The characters started out as likeable, but then they grey tiresome in their exceeding simplicity, almost stupid and silly ways.

    I would have given this book one star, but the reading by Mr. McLarty, as usual, is excellent, even though the words went nowhere.

    I think Mr. McLarty might actually make it as a writer someday, but not on this one, I'm sad to say.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA 03-19-05
    Mike Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA 03-19-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "BLAH!"

    As Smithy has said many times throughout this awful book "Why am I so stupid". I felt the same way having listened to the whole thing. Don't waste your time.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Izzy Thornhill, Ontario, Canada 08-13-04
    Izzy Thornhill, Ontario, Canada 08-13-04 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    54
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A great"

    If you are down on yourself, this book may change your perspective. I especially like the way the various episodes are broken up and intermingled with each other. Experience shows that books narrated by the author are usually a good bet, and this audiobook is no exception. Ron McLarty puts all of himself into the rendition. A great story and Highly recommended.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Whatever 01-27-05
    Whatever 01-27-05 Member Since 2003

    pcohen88

    HELPFUL VOTES
    55
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    408
    24
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Likable book about a not so likable character"

    I kept hoping the book was going somewhere, and while it was an interesting journey, it was an anti-climatic book. I couldn't even like a single character no matter how much I tried.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 09-04-13
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 09-04-13 Member Since 2012

    Enjoying one good listen after the next!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    513
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    365
    186
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    101
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Missed the Mark for Me!"

    I listened and listened and listened, hoping that some sort of plot would evolve into a real story of merit, but it simply didn't happen. All I can say is "It could have been so GOOD!" The narrator was quite good, but the story line, which folded over itself so many times with so many different characters and life events, just didn't catch my imagination.

    Other listeners differ in their opinion, so don't take mine for the final answer. In total, I found it just a shade above b-o-r-i-n-g.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ari Lake Forest, CA, USA 10-08-08
    Ari Lake Forest, CA, USA 10-08-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Don't Bother"

    It occurred to me that the overwhelming enthusiasm for this book is much like the story of the Emperor with No Clothes. Actually, a reviewer already mentioned that, but I swear I had thought of that analogy before reading that review. I can’t see anything that this book has going for it.

    It is unbelievable that there are so many people that swear that this book has so much to offer. A plot does not exist. The characters are not fleshed out or developed, possibly because the main character/narrator is completely uninteresting and uninsightful. The language that the main character uses is completely shallow, unsophisticated, dull, and repetitive. There’s too much description, and most of the time it is meaningless, dry and doesn’t help develop the story. Time and again I wanted to know more about the characters, but the story never seemed to go there. It was completely flat. When tragedy occurred (and it occurred a lot in this story) I wasn’t moved probably because I didn’t care about the characters.

    Now a little disclaimer: I only got through ½ the novel. That’s because I never read or listened to a novel where the first half was bad and the last half was great. I just gave up on it. But maybe there are some redeeming qualities later on. My gut feeling is that if you don’t like the novel after the first 2-3 hours of listening, you might want to cut your losses and check out something else. It’s up to you.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Littman OH 02-22-05
    D. Littman OH 02-22-05 Member Since 2003

    history buff

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1315
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    600
    155
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    169
    3
    Overall
    "A wonderful, moving novel"

    Very enjoyable, "light" novel. Had difficulty putting my iPod down throughout. Sorry it was over at the end. Interested in what happens in the main character's further life, and explorations of what happened to his sister in her many years of being disappeared. Looking forward to another book by the same author (everything else I could find was with him as a narrator only).

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Iver Portland, OR, USA 02-04-05
    Iver Portland, OR, USA 02-04-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    56
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Sweeping, Moving, Vivid, Slightly Flawed"

    Smithson Ide is, at 43, obese, alcoholic, lonely, emotionally wounded and stuck in a monotonous job. This is the story of how he got that way, and his unlikely healing through an impromptu cross-country bike trip. "Smithy" narrates the the events precipitated by the deaths of his parents and his deeply disturbed sister, and interjects extensive flashbacks of his childhood and early adulthood.

    The book is rich with cultural history, social satire, drama, tragedy, adventure, and geography. I found it hard to turn off once I started listening. I would rate this a five, but for two shortcomings: the constant switching between the main narrative and flashback, often at suspenseful points in Smithy's trip, can get a bit annoying; and Smithy's passivity concerning the safety of his person and property during his trip strains credibility. However, I would still heartily recommend it for those who enjoy books about people healing and growing, like Annie Proulx's "The Shipping News" and "That Old Ace in the Hole" or Wally Lamb's "She's Come Undone".

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Davis, CA, USA 02-22-04
    Anne Davis, CA, USA 02-22-04 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    56
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "an engaging book"

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. The voice of the narrator is sincere, modest and nostalgic. The story is told through a bike journey, flashing back to a series of anectdotes from the past. Listening to the sample will give you a good idea of the tone and progression of the book. You care about the characters and want to keep listening.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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