This year the Linn Area Reads program chose Running Away to Home: Our Family's Journey to Croatia in Search of Who We Are, Where We Came from and What Really Matters by Jennifer Wilson. I have never read one of the Linn Area Reads book before and was excited when I learned of their choice this year.
Before I dive into my review, I wanted to share a little bit about the Linn Area Reads program. Founded in 2003, the project is sponsored by the Metro Library Network and Barnes & Noble. A book is selected each spring that will encourage discussion among the community. You can learn more about the project and the events associated with this year's selection on their website.
By adding Running Away to Home to my to-read list once the selection was made, I realized I might set a record for the number of non-fiction books I'll read this year. I normally stick to fiction as many times I find non-fiction dense, boring and a little too real. Within the first few pages of the Running Away to Home I was sucked in and before I knew it an hour and half had passed along with about 80 pages. My cats were milling around my reading chair meowing at me because it was past my bedtime. This book had me hooked.
Wilson does a great job of setting the scene for her family's decision to move to Croatia and keeping the story moving through the ups and downs of such a dramatic decision. You see the outcome of the decision for each member of the family as the story progresses. For me, it was very easy to identify with her and her husband and their goal of finding family (past and present) and finding themselves. I could see myself and my family in Jennifer's and as the story progressed, I became of bit jealous of her journey and her tenacity. I now have a renewed interest in tracing my maternal roots.
Running Away to Home is a quick read. It's a memoir of self discovery and family. I think many readers will be able to identify with Jennifer's journey to Croatia and what she discovers there. Oh, and there are family recipes at the end of the book! Running Away to Home gets a thumbs up.
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