This is, without a doubt, the best book I read in 2011.
Matt Long's account of his young years as a New York City firefighter, brother, son, and endurance athlete sets the stage for this tale. Long has a smartass northeastern sense of humor that comes through clearly in the text. His apparent zest for life makes it all the more tragic that in 2005 he was hit by a bus and left with 5 percent chance of survival. His list of internal injuries would make even the most stoic reader wince in empathy.
As can be expected after an accident so traumatic, Long's path to recovery is, at times, uncertain. The reader follows Long through the shock of learning the extent of his injuries to the humiliation that he feels living with a colostomy bag. His voice is so strong in the tale that the reader (at least this reader) finds herself near tears when bad news is delivered by well-intentioned doctors.
But these periods of grief are peppered with tales of firehouse pranks and family humor that make you want to laugh out loud.
And ultimately this book is not a tragedy. It is a story of triumph over adversity. It is the story of how Long pulled his post-accident life back together (with the help of family, friends, and some excellent doctors and physical therapists) to run and race again.
If there ever was a tale of inspiration, this is it.
If you want to read an excerpt before you commit to buying it (or to borrowing it from your local library), Runner's World offers a sizeable chunk of the text on their website. Or watch the video from the Daily Show:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
If you haven't read it, what are you waiting for?