Runaway Train

The Story of a Lapsed Salvation Army Girl Who Found True Love With an Alcoholic Street Kid

Non-Fiction - Memoir
196 Pages
Reviewed on 01/18/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lucinda E Clarke for Readers' Favorite

In her memoir Runaway Train, Krista Cambers tells of her childhood growing up with divorced parents who were both in the Salvation Army. She admits she was a difficult child, shy, bullied at school, and with very low self-esteem. She battled with a situation in which there was little contact with her father’s family and she was brought up by her mother and grandparents. After being prescribed antidepressants, she became addicted. She married and divorced twice, which lowered her self-confidence even further. She also suffered emotional abuse, especially from her second husband, and it took many months before she was finally able to leave him. The next boyfriend was no kinder, and the only break she had was working in a mini-mart. It was here she met Mark, who was both gentle and honest, but he was an addict, a criminal, and a panhandler. The book title comes from his earlier days when he train-hopped with a friend and traveled all over North America. The couple, from different backgrounds, fell in love and Krista was with Mark right to the end.

Runaway Train by Krista Cambers is not an easy book to read. The story of how she stood by her boyfriend is heartfelt and heart-rending. By the time she met him, both were damaged and abused, but they found comfort in each other, although it took time to let their defenses down. I would recommend giving this book to older teenagers as a true account of how life can be living on the streets, addicted to both drugs and alcohol, as a warning against such dangerous and destructive behavior. Krista remembers every piece of music they enjoyed together, every film they watched, as Mark’s body slowly lost the battle for life. She describes the gritty side of illness which people seldom mention, the loss of bodily control, the vomiting, and the projectile blood. You feel for both of them as, having found real love for the first time, Mark battles to live. I think it must have taken a lot of courage for Krista to write this book and share it with the world. As she says, if her story prevents even one person from falling into the world of drugs and alcohol abuse, it will have achieved its purpose.