[ Free ] Portrait of a Girl Running (Portraits, #1) Author J.B. Chicoine – Blockdiagramwiring.co
All Leila Wants Is To Get Through Her Senior Year At Her New High School Without Drawing Undue Attention Not That She Has Any Big Secret To Protect, But Her Unconventional Upbringing Has Made Her Very Private At Seventeen, She Realizes Just How Odd It Was That Two Men Raised Her One Black, One White And No Mother Not To Mention They Were Blues Musicians, Always On The Move When Her Father Died, He Left Her With A Fear Of Foster Care And A Plan That Would Help Her Fall Between The Cracks Of The System Three Teachers Make That Impossible The Handsome Track Coach, Her Math Teacher From Hell, And A Jealous Gym Instructor Compromising Situations, Accusations Of Misconduct, And Judicial Hearings Put Leila S Autonomy And Even Her Dignity At Risk, Unless She Learns To Trust An Unlikely Ally I came across this book whilst searching for something about running The running genre isn t exactly a crowded field at least if we re talking about running fiction and most of the books I have read or come across are fairly old This is stuff like the The Loneliness of the long distance runner or Once a runner Upon reading the blurb I wasn t even sure that the book would have anything other than a tangential relationship to the topic so I got in touch with the author who kindly gave me the following reply Thanks for the great question.While running is important to the plot and character development in Portrait of a Girl Running, it is relevant as a thematic metaphor.The story does delve into the challenges of girl athletes in the mid 1970s, before high schools provided separate teams for girls, in this case, a girls track team However, I wouldn t say that running is a central component that is, the story does not revolve around running as a sport, but, since the story is character than action driven, the plot revolves around why the main character, Leila, feels compelled to run physically and metaphorically So I thought I would give it a shot and bought it This wasn t a free for review and there was no negotiation of any kind with the author Okay, so the running topic aside this book wasn t my usual type of fare and towards the start I felt like a half miler toeing the start line and exchanging words with a fellow competitor only to find that I had been entered by my girlfriend for a marathon Well the entry fee had been forked out for, so I might as well enjoy the scenery hadn t I I gritted my teeth and got ready to endure the sentence, except that the scenery was rather pretty and I found myself carried along by the lyrical lines of text massed like rows of supporters along the pavement entreating me to keep going.The story is about a young girl about to graduate high school whose complicated family situation gains additional complexities by her falling for a teacher coach, falling away from her grade expectations and at various points falling out with most of the other characters in the book She s basically falling out of the wrong side of the bed throughout the novel This leads to a number of romantic and legal hurdles which have to be negotiated but which I wont get into so as not to give away any spoilers.As I said this isn t familiar or especially comfortable territory for me at all and I did wonder if this teacher student complication was well trod terrain in other words as well worn a cliche as a well worn pair of battered old Nike s except that what marked it out from most of the stuff I have read of late was the effortless fly across the page prose which made the passage of the novel a breeze, infact a treat to read The central character was well pencilled in and her actions followed pretty logically on the heels of her backstory so that I never felt that there was too great an element of deus ex machina putting a spanner in the works However the motives of some of the other characters through whose viewpoints we are able to glimpse some of the action were rather opaque, at least until the the end.The novel is set in the seventies, a time I vaguely remember, and there are a lot of references to art which I didnt mind at all, and to blues music which I initially found intrusive but then quickly got used to Certainly its a good example of the author writing about subjects she knows well and it gave the characters a polished and rounded feel.Overall I thought this was a technically well drilled, sympathetic portrait of a likeable character whose story made me want to read all the way to the end to find out what happened to her. A really beautiful story not only of romantic love, but of familial love, friendship, and growing up after a childhood of transience and neglect Will definitely read the sequelthough I am worried based on some reviewsI loved all of the musical and artistic references throughout the work They made a wonderful soundtrack. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel There are just so many wonderful aspects of Girl Running that take this book far beyond simply being a student teacher novel It possesses elements of jazz and photography that are expertly descriptive and so enticing that at many points, I thought I could actually hear the music Chicoine s characters are very in depth and truly unforgettable Girl Running has many themes that are intricately woven in the story and it has many touching moments that are truly unforgettable It was very difficult for me to put this book down and I immediately jumped into the sequel when finished. Leila is a young girl who has faced many unusual circumstances in her life She is trying to build a life for herself while keeping under the radar as she finishes her senior year of high school Her mother is gone and her father has died, but she wants to be independent and stay out of the system As she builds relationships with friends, coaches, and teachers suspicions arise that make it difficult for her to remain anonymous She has to face many trying situations as she moves forward attempting to protect those she cares for I enjoyed this story and the many emotions and feelings expressed within this young girl and her ability to be both genuine and complex Leila felt like a real person with so much going on in her life that she often did not know how to behave or continue to move forward The story is written from the viewpoints of different characters and was a good tool in showing the emotions of these characters Overall, this was a good read I received a free copy of this book from the author for review. Although this story has a young adult character, Leila, the feel of the story is adult Set in Leila s senior year of high school, on her own after the death of her father and in a new environment, Leila struggles with her artistic bent, plays blues piano with a bunch of Delta blues octogenarians every Saturday night, and runs as a way of coping with her a past that is quickly catching up to her Throw into the mix her unconventional relationships with two male teachers, and I was surprised at how thoroughly engrossed I an adult male became in the life of a seventeen year old girl.I enjoyed the switches in point of view, from Leila to Ian Brigham the handsome and conflicted track coach to Mr Clarence Myles the enigmatic math teacher While it is a of high school setting, Chicoine focuses enough on the internal life of her characters, providing a well rounded story with impressive character developments Chicoine s stories tend to unfold gradually organically at the start, but soon escalate with crazy twists and turns that kept me turning pages I can t wait to read the sequel, Portrait of a Prot g J.B Chicoine constantly amazes me at the depth she s able to give her characters I truly felt connected to Leila and could feel empathy at every crossroads in front if her Because Leila s past has some darkness to it, this novel felt a little adult than your typical YA Yes, Leila is 17 years old, but there s a maturity there as well as some deeper and emotional themes.I hope that in the next book Leila learns even how to come into her own and free herself from her past I hope she gets her happily ever after in whatever form is best for her. Easy to read and as the story goes along the characters begin to take shape and draw you in Looking forward to book two JB Chicoine has done it again She takes us on a trip through time and family dysfunction, yet somehow, like a fairy tale of old, manages to give us a happy ending.The main character Leila, has survived an unstable world living in a bi racial family with two dads, surrounded by drug addiction and jazz musicians, and then the tragedy of one of her father s deaths all before she turns eighteen In order to beat the social service system and foster care, she runs to Long Island and lives with her step grandfather until she turns legal.She thinks she s safe, but the hits just keep on coming for poor Leila Rotten luck seems to follow this girl and I just cried in places because I felt so bad for her Chicoine s writing keeps you immersed within the story and when you re finished with the book, it s like you ve just watched the best movie you ve ever seen There are many twists as well, so just when you think Leila is finally going to catch a break, it doesn t happen, which keeps you reading, wondering if this poor girl will finally get her happy ever after.The prose is always lyrical, Chicoine s words like a tapestry, growing vibrant as the story continues With every turn of the page, you keep rooting for Leila, hoping against hope that somewhere there will be a silver lining As in every fairy tale, there is a fairy godmother, although in this case a fairy godfather , a wicked queen does she get her comeuppance and a Prince to ride in to the rescue Which was a nail biter would he, wouldn t he I m not telling This book has been classified in the young adult college age new adult genre, but I think it reads like women s fiction The character of Leila may be young, but to me she s an old soul who has lived a thousand lives by the time she gets to Long Island I cannot wait to read the sequel and find out what happens to Leila next. 3.5 stars.Oh, Clarence Myles I think he was hands down my favorite character in this book And all the characters are well formed and three dimensional It s a good book Maybe a bit slow for some people, but not boring or dull Leila is a girl who s never really experienced stability in her life her mother left her, her father is bipolar though it seems the people in his life don t realize what it is and dies shortly before the book begins Leila is on her own, living in an apartment above the father of her dad s best friend and band mate.The book opens with Leila meeting Ian for the first time over the summer, and then progresses from there through her final school year.Please note The romance in this is as minimal as romance can get I m honestly not entirely sure why it s been listed in that category.