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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,410
  • 4 Stars
    1,018
  • 3 Stars
    525
  • 2 Stars
    178
  • 1 Stars
    162

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    764
  • 4 Stars
    420
  • 3 Stars
    168
  • 2 Stars
    58
  • 1 Stars
    46

Story

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    635
  • 4 Stars
    426
  • 3 Stars
    238
  • 2 Stars
    79
  • 1 Stars
    68
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Lynn
  • Charlotte, NC, USA
  • 02-27-05

Great Storyteller

Well worth a listen. McLarty is a great storyteller. He paints a vivid picture of a person who is lost and then finds himself through the strangest of ways.

Lynn Daniel

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Robert
  • Champlin, MN, USA
  • 02-22-05

A Wonderful Human Story

I found this book to be wonderfully insightful about the human condition, and to be cleverly crafted and well-written as well. It's definitely a book for those who care about people and who can empathize with the plights of others, especially those less fortunate. I felt the author's very sensitive treatment of the main character helped me understand some of my own motivations, and the journey the main character took was filled with engaging metaphors that continue to be grist for further reflection. I found this story at turns funny, sad, thought provoking and, overall, very entertaining.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jim
  • Eagan, MN, United States
  • 02-16-05

Loved it!

I really enjoyed this book! It was full of life's lessons on how to live a full, quality life!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kay
  • La Crosse, WI, USA
  • 02-16-05

Charmed

It took me a while to get into this book, but after a while I started to appreciate it, then enjoy it, and then I was just charmed. That sounds understated for how much I truly enjoyed this. This is definitely good for audiobook because the narrator, who is also the author, really makes it!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good story, but some reservations

This was definitely an engaging story. It was hard to "put it down" - I found myself making excuses to go for rides in my car so I could listen more. I had a few reservations, though: 1) the narrator reads too slow for my taste. I'm a "fast listener," and even when I bumped up the speed on my iPod, it seemed to drag. But the expressiveness and clarity was good. 2) If you're sensitive to profanity and vulgarity, and frequent discussions of teenage sexual fantasies and experiences, beware. Otherwise, buy it and enjoy it!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Laurie
  • Pacoima, CA, USA
  • 02-11-05

good one

the narrative tone was enjoyable as was the character's back-and-forth from present journey to childhood through manhood. details of daily life and issues for someone with obesity were very accurate.i found myself really feeling for the main character, his struggle with his weight and his crazy sister. lots of odd characters in his life and encountered on his journey.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

great book

This is an excellent excellent book. I'm so bummed it's over. Great dialogue, great imagery, great story. Ron McLarty's narration couldn't be better - no surprise there I suppose. I am so impressed by how he can perfectly capture a character's personality with such subtle changes in his speech. I loved following along with Smithy on his crazy cross-country adventure - meeting, talking, listening, sharing with all the characters he meets, and having all the back-story filled in along the way as well. The great writing combined with the superb narration make this a top pick for me.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Patrick
  • Denham Springs, LA, USA
  • 02-10-05

A beautiful summation of a life's journey

The writer touches the reader with his ability to describe the ailments, worries, and challenges we all can, will, and do face daily. The main character delves thoughtfully into the places that we each have been to one time or another and succinctly and politely explains how they relate to his own experience. For those of us that can relate to his familial experience, this story really touches you. As an audiobook-only edition this piece both delivers an interesting story and will keep your attention throughout. Worthwhile for a quiet evening, while traveling, or anytime you have a few minutes to spare.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joy
  • Keene, NH, USA
  • 02-03-05

This is a great book

Although this is out of the genre I generally read I thought I would give it a try. It is a book you wont want to put down. The story is so detailed you really feel you begin to know this character.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Get on your bike and ride across America

This book was like "riding a bike". In the beginning, it was confusing. I kept rewinding the book and wondering "Is he talking about the past or present or just thinking?" But once I got into the rhythm of the book, it became enjoyable.

I particular enjoyed the conversations with Norma and Smithy's interaction to the people he met along his ride. It was sad to listen about himself and his family dynamics, but those sections also made him a more loveable character.

I was disappointed for this book to end and only wished there was a sequel.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful