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Chasing Ghosts Paperback – February 2, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
The writing is poor in many regards. The book is filled with cringe-worthy similes: "Sullivan blended in with the upperclassmen like peanut butter mixes with jelly." "The list of shady characters was longer than a five-year-old's Christmas wish list." The characters are so bland that even towards the final chapters I had trouble telling them apart. Of course it's difficult to care about what happens when you can't even remember who you're reading about.
However, all of this could be forgiven if the writing about the running itself shined. Sadly, the descriptions of the races, even towards the climax were just okay. Reilly doesn't capture the pure joy and excitement of racing. Nor does he show why it's so addicting. I understood why McNeal (the main character) was willing to transform his life for a shot at greatness, but not because of Reilly's words. I felt like I had to do all the work of putting myself in McNeal's shoes because the author didn't have the skill.
For a talented writer, running could offer a compelling subject. Sadly, Reilly isn't up to the task.
His cohorts are fellow running friends Ryan Cooper, Len O'Donnell and Cousin Mitch Maloney. Along with their "nuttier than Jiff" coach Seamus O'Toole this group of characters will have you pulling for them while laughing loudly. The dialog is often funny and sometimes sidesplitting, as are many of the situations the group often find themselves.
Joey lives in an apartment described by his coach as being a place where only the "depths of hell" is worse. From this home base the foursome plan workouts, watch their favorite TV show, "Monday Night Raw" and infuriate O'Toole with their eating habits.
If you have ever trained in one hundred degrees or ran through snow covered streets in hopes of improving your 5k time, taken hundreds of jump shots to make the local hoops team or responded to the compliment, "nice workout" with the retort, "thanks, but I hate you" you will understand these souls.
McNeal tells the team he coaches that if they don't try they will always be "chasing that ghost" and it might make you think about ghosts in your life too.
The stars I gave are for the depiction of the pain during some of the races. The author describes "getting into the zone" fairly well. The spent feeling after leaving it all on the track was done well too.
It is a nice read, but nothing compared to Once a Runner or Again to Carthage. Parker does a much better job describing the kind of pain it takes to endure in order to get to that level.
All in all, worth reading though, especially if you haven't read the two others I've mentioned. If you don't have those novels to compare this to, you would enjoy it more than I did.
Don't waste your time on this book. Read Jon L. Parker or Life at These Speeds instead. If you like non-fiction, try Bowerman and the Men of Oregon.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you are a runner, then this is a five star book and if you like 'once a runner,' then you will like this. Read morePublished 6 months ago by scott richardson
Such a great read! I enjoyed every page. Growing up in Philadelphia, it was especially cool to see references to lots of familiar places. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Danielle Shaw
Awesome book!!! Great story, characters have unique personalities, and the workout and race scenes pull you onto the hill or track with McNeal and others. Awesome stuff!!!Published 24 months ago by Brian Gould
Chasing Ghosts tells the story of Joey Macneal, a former competitive runner who decides to give his olympic dreams one last shot by devoting everything he has to running. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Samantha
It's a fun read whether you are into running or not. I true feel good story. If you are into running, you will relate to the trials and tribulations of the main character and his... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Jacqueline Gentile
This book is for all the runners that think they still have it. No longer will you wonder why you bang those miles day after day. Read morePublished on January 8, 2014 by Adolio Q. Navarro
This book is amazing. If you ran in college you have to read this book, it really hits home. I'm sure if you ran in high school or even like to run now you will love this book. Read morePublished on January 11, 2013 by patrick mckeever
I enjoyed reading this book. I found myself becoming attached to the characters and was silently cheering for their success. Read morePublished on December 7, 2012 by lawdr