cover image Life Is a Marathon: A Memoir of Love and Endurance

Life Is a Marathon: A Memoir of Love and Endurance

Matt Fitzgerald. Da Capo Lifelong, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7382-8477-4

A nutritionist and lifelong runner, Fitzgerald (The Endurance Diet) combines his expertise and experiences in this inspiring memoir that charts his desire to run eight marathons in eight weeks. While runners and athletes will find much inspiration and metaphor, as Fitzgerald opines that “To run a marathon is to practice life and to practice for life,” it’s the story of his wife, Nataki, who suffers from bipolar disorder, that is the book’s heart. Chapters alternate between Fitzgerald’s marathons and his courtship of Nataki, culminating in a pained discussion of her bipolar disorder. Fitzgerald treats the topic with empathy, and the narrative of their relationship and his care for her—filled with anecdotes about manic episodes (at one point Nataki threatened him with a knife) and attempts at treatment—will ring all too familiar to those who have firsthand experience with the mental illness. Yet through it all, Fitzgerald provides a positive and encouraging message—for runners (a man named Rome, befriended by Fitzgerald while running the Boston marathon, needed 20 tries to qualify) and for those suffering from mental illness (the pursuit of happiness can be a long process for anyone). Though runners will undoubtedly be drawn to Fitzgerald’s marathon stories and interviews with other runners, all readers will find a heartrending story of struggle and love. [em](Mar.) [/em]