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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
This book truly spoke to me. I am so deeply moved by Go See the Beautiful by R. L. Johnson as it reminds me of my running days until a knee injury made me stop. Like many informative and heartwarming nonfiction books, it takes a simple subject (running) as a vehicle to create deep truths about human nature. Conceived on the eve of the author’s first marathon, this book about Johnson’s running experiences makes for a brilliant allegory of the journey through life. The premise is simple: A vision to accomplish something big, yet the path to reaching it is fraught with obstacles. In his running moments, Johnson has encountered dangers from attack dogs to skunks. But hope and determination similarly feature in his journey as he runs by waterfalls, ocean waves, and mountain peaks. He sets his mind to completing four marathons in conjunction with writing a discourse on the four big themes of life.
You can expect this book to have many running scenes. Not only that, but it also reads like participating in a marathon. Johnson presents his chapters as running miles, and it helps non-runners to get a better grasp of the theme. Johnson loves the idea of moving his body with his own two feet where progress gives him a sense of fulfillment. Of course, failure lurks in the shadows, and it is fascinating to read how he uses running as a means of asserting his willpower and self-esteem. Go See the Beautiful created a deep feeling in me—it gave me a sense of renewal that makes me want to put on my running shoes once again. You don’t have to be a runner to see those particular moments of the power of being human in the face of pain, stress, joy, and victory. Johnson’s narrative for Go See the Beautiful is clear and evocative and is suited to a runner’s point of view. This is one of the best books I have read about running, and I highly recommend it for its inspirational thoughts and creative ideas in dealing with age-old problems.