While I love to read, these day’s I’m more likely to be reading “The Day the Crayons Quit” or “Little Blue Truck” before bedtime. So I had the book “Wishing on My Father’s Star” for a few weeks before a work trip finally afforded me the time to read it.
What made me most excited to read this book is that I actually have met the author: Holly Hight and her husband Blaine used to live in Portland and were active with Team Red Lizard and ORRC. Holly was much faster than me, but I would see her at races from time to time and even ran part of the ORRC Hagg Lake 25k with Blaine one year. This is her first book, although the story is one she’s been developing over years. The book is edited by Portland coach Rick Lovett, who also worked with Alberto Salazar on his book, Alberto Salazar’s Guide to Road Racing.
Wishing on My Father’s Star is a novel that follows young runner Gina Dalton as she careens from town to town as her father chases his dream: for Gina to become a champion runner. Eugene and Portland are the settings for much of the book, where Dalton discovers her own passion for running. It’s fun reading a book when you can actually see the setting – because you’ve been there.
I read the entire book in one day, thanks to a long flight and a time change that left me too keyed up to go to bed. It’s also a very engaging book, with a fast pace leaving you want to find out what happens next. The book isn’t all sunshine and roses; there are actually some quite tragic elements, but life is like that. I have never been a competitive runner, but it was easy to follow along with Gina’s ups and downs because Hight didn’t get wander into the weeds of explaining track workouts or the like. I even finally understand what it means when someone says “paint the track,” thanks to this book.
The book will make you think; depending on where you’ve been in your life. Without giving too much away, I will say that I came away from the book with a new appreciation for trying to be understanding of what other people go through. It’s easy to assume that all the other runners I meet had similar childhoods and came into running the way I did: a relatively fun, easy-to-start activity that includes new gear, race registrations, and post-run dinner with friends. Gina Dalton was not this type of runner, yet I loved her story.