I fell in love right at the title. I’m not a big fan of running and don’t really understand why anyone would choose to run this much, but I am a huge fan of thinking of myself as a work in progress. I’m also a sucker for an every woman memoir. Valerio is amazing.
Valerio’s story is amazing, not because of where it started, but everywhere she took it. Running is hard and it sucks and I can’t imagine the runs she’s been on. They sound beautiful, though. She manages to make ultra-marathons sound great even to someone who really hates running.
For all the women in my family, and particularly my mother, I have hoped for Valerio’s attitude about weight, fat-shaming, and exercise. Valerio deals with a lot, as do all overweight or fat women, when it comes to society telling you just what they think. It’s not as subtle as other things. People still feel free to stare it fat people and randomly yell “advice” and do other terrible things to remind fat women that they are not worth the time of the public until they’ve lost the weight. I’ve seen it with my family all too often. I’ve seen the stares and even had people assume they can get me to join in on fat-shaming my own mother. Even the well-intended manage to miss that they aren’t helping. Even I have done it when it comes to exercise. Valeria deals with all of that and some other issues and comes to the decision to start running again and she doesn’t just start running the way most people do.
From there her story gets crazy. It’s not just being a Fat Girl Running or not being dead last at a run, but her own blog about it and her path to health and proving that health and capability and athleticism are not about size. The book never waivers from being a memoir about running, but we do learn quite a bit about Valerio and how she went from deciding to take up running to where she is now in the running world.
This is definitely a memoir for anyone who loves women’s memoirs or running or just needs a pick me up this week because it never seems like they can get anything done in life. Okay, maybe that last one was just me, but it definitely helped me get a little perspective and remember that I’m capable of so much more than I give myself credit for with just a little more work. I picked up A Beautiful Work in Progress on an Amazon First Read, and it’s still available on Amazon here, or add to Goodreads for later.