In the tradition of Wild and H Is for Hawk, an Outside magazine writer tells her story—of fathers and daughters, grief and renewal, adventure and obsession, and the power of running to change your life.
... Katie Arnold does an admirable job of trusting the everyday material of her life ... Running Home is at its very best when Arnold writes about finding herself pulled away from her husband and young daughters by her running and her writing ... The book has a sweet and earned ending. Unfortunately, Arnold can’t resist goosing it a bit. Throughout the last 50 pages, she hits us repeatedly with blasts of the abstract, inflated language of wisdom ... These life lessons feel extraneous and are impatient-making, because loftiness is not, after all, the job of the memoir. Arnold has already fulfilled that job. She has ushered us into an interesting life and laid bare the darker feelings hidden there. We don’t require transcendent wisdom. A writer does not need to be a phoenix.
Arnold is frank in her portrayal of the quiet negotiations that take place in a relationship as each party seeks to balance self-care and training with the work required to make relationships and households run smoothly ... Arnold’s training, race reports and newfound ambitions for athletic success after she won her first ultramarathon come to form a central thread in the book — one that could have easily grown tedious and boring, even to a lifelong runner like me. Instead, Arnold has written about running in way that perfectly captures its essence ... The story she shares in Running Home will resonate with anyone who has ever run, anyone who has lost a parent, and anyone who has struggled to make peace with a beloved but enigmatic parent — in other words, just about everyone.
Beautifully written ... The memoir is strongest when Arnold weaves back and forth from her childhood years in Virginia to her visits with her father during his terminal illness, to her home life in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Arnold masterfully captures the vulnerability of wading through grief with each step she takes toward self-discovery. This remarkable memoir will undoubtedly resonate with runners but equally so with children of divorce, new mothers, and those who have suffered the loss of a parent. An eloquent tribute to the complexity and vibrancy of a parent-child relationship.