Running for my Life is the story of Lopez Lomong, an Olympic athlete for the US who was formerly one of the lost boys of Sudan. It follows his life from the age of six, when he was stolen from his mother’s arms during a church service in Sudan, until his very first Olympic games as a runner for Team USA and graduation from university.
I absolutely loved this book and think it should be a must-read for everyone. The book chronicles Lopez Lomong’s life through his abduction, surviving a camp when child soldiers are trained, ten years in a refugee camp in Kenya, and his experiences in moving to the US, finding new family, and training to become an Olympic level athlete. While his athletic achievements are a part of the story, they are not focal point, and I liked that. The focus was more on his survival, and I found it interesting and intense, and I couldn’t put the book down.
The writing style is fairly straightforward, but it works for the story. Any time the writing tried to become a little more adventurous, I found things a little more difficult to follow. Things would start to jump around a bit. It was a fairly easy read, I finished it in less than two days.
The most eye-opening part of the story (and the part I enjoyed most) was Lopez’s experiences when he first moved to the States. Everything was so different for him, and there were so many things that we take for granted every day that he didn’t even know existed (He slept with the light on in his room for several days after arriving, as he did not know he could turn the light off or what the light switch was for, and after several days of cold showers, he tried to boil water on the stove so he could wash in warm water, not realizing hot water could come from the tap).
This is a must-read, and an excellent story for a different perspective on life. I gave it 5/5, and I don’t give those out too often! This is one that I think should be on high school reading lists.