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Publisher's Summary

From noted ESPN commentator and journalist Kate Fagan, the heartbreaking and vital story of college athlete Madison Holleran, whose death by suicide rocked the University of Pennsylvania campus and whose life reveals with haunting detail and uncommon understanding the struggle of young people suffering from mental illness today.

If you scrolled through the Instagram feed of 19-year-old Maddy Holleran, you would see a perfect life: a freshman at an Ivy League school, recruited for the track team, who was also beautiful, popular, and fiercely intelligent. This was a girl who succeeded at everything she tried and who was only getting started.

But when Maddy began her long-awaited college career, her parents noticed something changed. Previously indefatigable Maddy became withdrawn, and her thoughts centered on how she could change her life. In spite of thousands of hours of practice and study, she contemplated transferring from the school that had once been her dream. When Maddy's dad, Jim, dropped her off for the first day of spring semester, she held him a second longer than usual. That would be the last time Jim would see his daughter.

What Made Maddy Run began as a piece that Kate Fagan, a columnist for espnW, wrote about Maddy's life. What started as a profile of a successful young athlete whose life ended in suicide became so much larger when Fagan started to hear from other college athletes also struggling with mental illness. This is the story of Maddy Holleran's life and her struggle with depression, which also reveals the mounting pressures young people, and college athletes in particular, face to be perfect, especially in an age of relentless connectivity and social media saturation.

©2017 Kate Fagan (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"It is impossible not to be affected by Holleran's heart-wrenching story. An appropriate (if difficult) read for current and future college athletes, their coaches, and parents." ( Library Journal)
"A compassionate and frank look at depression and the social pressure faced by many college students as seen through the eyes of one young woman." ( Kirkus)
"Fagan's book is well-researched and the message is timely and important." ( Publishers Weekly)

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Consider reading instead of listening to this book

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It goes without saying that this is a tragic story. In trying to elucidate the factors contributing to this young woman's suicide, perhaps something positive will come of Madison's untimely death.

What did you like best about this story?

The exploration of the impact of social media on the generation that has not known a world without extreme connectivity. The destructiveness of unrealistic expectations of oneself that can be at least partially attributed to the bombardment by the "happiness" displayed on social media, and the exclusion of the reality of peoples lives is explored.

Things have changed drastically since I went to college in the 80's. The author effectively contrasts the not so remote, yet extremely different experiences of going off to college. Ironically, there is so much more awareness of mental illness now than there was 30 years ago, and an armamentarium of psychotropic medications. It is perplexing that such extreme suffering is still so rampant.

What didn’t you like about Kate Fagan’s performance?

I'm sorry to say that the narration of this book was TERRIBLE! If a person spoke in the manner that Ms Fagan read aloud, it would be bizarre. It was extremely distracting with emphasis on words misplaced, and pauses in inappropriate places. I had to increase the speed to 1.5x, and it still seemed stilted and just wrong. How can this be when someone is reading one's own words? I had urges to give up the entire time I was listening, but I wanted to finish the story. It needs to be revised by an experienced narrator. Too late for me, but it would spare others.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

I don't know - it would depend on the reviews.

Any additional comments?

Again, I advise reading this instead of listening to it.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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God Bless Madison

Heartbreaking story of the teenager who had it all and the depression that led to despair. The author ( Kate Fagan ) has incredible access to Madison’s life and added with insightful analysis tells Madison story in an honest non exploitive manner.
Eye opening read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Student-athlete

Maddy’s story gives readers an insight into the struggles with mental health that student-athletes face, along with a sad picture of how social media allows us to hide our true emotions and create a filtered image of our lives that is far different from the reality that we are actually experiencing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Heartbreaking

I hope this book helps people deal with depression. It is very difficult when you think you're all alone. Trust me, there are a lot of people who have similar feelings. Knowing you are not alone is probably the best thing to realize. There is no shame in talking to other people about depression.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Left me feeling devastated

Suicide happens daily, it's not unusual. What is unique about this story is that Madison seemingly had it all. She was gorgeous and very talented in soccer & track. She had a solid and loving family who cared for her deeply. She had an amazing personality that attracted many friends and made her peers look up to her. She was intelligent and thoughtful and had the respect of her community & the colleges that recruited her. Unfortunately she had depression that she could not deal with and felt that there was no possible solution for it. The story was told so well that I felt like I knew Madison and the people that she was important to. I am just so sad that her life could not be saved and that she felt like it wasn't worth saving. I thought the narrator was perfect for this story and did an excellent job with some difficult dialog along the way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Thank You Kate

Thank you for sharing this story...I cried, was angry and maybe a bit at peace by the end. I hope parents and schools take the message here and help all students. RIP Maddy...your storm has subsided. Joe Gargiul

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Tragic

Any additional comments?

Sad story, well researched, well written, good narration. I would recommend this book but be prepared for an aching heart.

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Good Read for Parents of Stressed Teens

Worthwhile read for parents of stressed children. I didn’t particularly like the author’s insertion of her own story, nor the authors assumptions of how Maddy was feeling. I was able to overlook my issues and still felt it was a worthwhile read. I also attended UPenn, lived near the suicide scene, and my roommate died 2 months into my freshman year in college. Fast forward, my 14 year old daughter is perpetually stressed. So, this story is close to my heart and put me on alert to be sensitive to my daughter’s pressures.

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Amazing, agonizing story

An incredibly powerful story that is difficult to listen to because the subject matter is so painful. A must-read for parents whose children experience the constant pressure of social media and the pressure to succeed.

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I wanted to hear Maddys story

I wanted to hear about Madisons life and struggles I admit to skipping past the authors personal story because that’s not why I wanted the book. Maddie should have been the focus not the author. She already
Wrote a memoir.