out of 5
Review by Craig
In theory, I should be Scott Jurek's ideal audience: Vegan for more than 15 years, running for about five. For those reasons, I've been highly anticipating this read for months. Maybe my expectations were too high. The sad truth is it's just not written that well. The parts about his path to veganism seem awkwardly placed (does it really matter that some ski instructors served him salad in high school if he didn't give up meat until years later?); the tips and recipes at the end of each chapter also feel awkward, sometimes like nothing more than filler; and especially awkward, if not outright embarrassing, is the brazen schilling for the companies that have endorsed him. Maybe someday we won't blink an eye at product placement in books, just like we've gotten used to it in movies. I'm glad that day hasn't come yet. Again, I concede that perhaps I'm being too harsh because my expectations were so high. Even if not a literary classic in the making, the stories about his races--the bulk of the book--are inspiring enough that they make me want to train for a marathon again, and isn't that the ultimate point of a book like this? I love Jurek's message--I just wish it was conveyed more smoothly. For those looking for inspirational books about veganism, I would suggest Diet for a New America and The China Study. Once a Runner is a good example of a well written, inspiring book on training for a race.