What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen

Kate Fagan. Little, Brown, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-35654-1
ESPN columnist Fagan (The Reappearing Act) delves into the haunting story of Maddy Holleran, a track runner at the University of Pennsylvania whose struggles with depression and the pressures of sports culture ended in suicide. The narrative flips back and forth between chapters that recreate Maddy’s life and essays on how athletics—especially at the collegiate level—negatively impact the mental health of millions of people. Having struggled with similar issues herself, Fagan is well suited to tackle the underlying problem: student athletes, she argues, are so frequently fed platitudes such as “pain is weakness leaving the body” and face such unrealistic demands that those with mental-health issues become discouraged from seeking help, certain that they’re alone. Those bits of analysis, in which Fagan ties together a host of problems facing modern college-bound youth, are the book’s strongest points; less helpful are Fagan’s frequent attempts to recreate Maddy’s thought processes. Nevertheless, Fagan’s book is well researched and the message is timely and important. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/19/2017
Release date: 08/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-316-35653-4
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