4 out of 4 stars
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Running to Stand Still is a story of love written by J Theron. It is divided into four parts and each part is introduced by a first person narration while each chapter is told in the third person.
The story is about Danielle Rousseau and Michael le Roux who met each other when they were 15 and 18 years old, respectively. They spent the summer together swimming, snorkelling and talking about their future plans and dreams: Danielle’s was to be a cardiothoracic surgeon while Michael’s was to study art in Paris. That beautiful summer abruptly came to an end when Michael left for the army.
When he came back, however, he seemed to be a completely different person, cold and distant and not the friendly and warm boy Danielle spent some time with. After an incident that rocked Danielle’s world, Michael walked away and they did not see each other for ten years.
Danielle, after being offered residency in Groote Schuur Hospital, was spending some time alone in Avignon when she accidentally came across Michael, now a successful painter. He offered to show her around and she gratefully accepted.
The book describes the delicious feeling of being in love for the first time as well as the bitterness and pain of losing that love. Personally, I think the best part of the book is the plot. I find it very realistic. First, Danielle’s decision to date other guys when Michael walked away is sensible. It is the logical and matured thing to do. Instead of wallow in despair for the loss of her first love, she gave herself a chance to fall in love with someone else. Second, though it may sound dishonorable, I agree with Michael when he pursued Danielle in Avignon despite the fact that he knew she was already engaged. He had a chance and he seized it.
In addition to the realistic plot are the admirable and endearing characters. Danielle is smart and brave that she is woman enough to tell her fiancé that she is in love with someone else. It is, for me, the right thing to do and the right thing to say and not the lame ‘it’s not you it’s me’ excuse trying to soften up the blow of a messy break up. Michael loves very generously that he is willing to sacrifice for the one he loves. First, he walked away doing what he thought was right and second, he gave Danielle a choice when he said ‘Even though it would kill me to watch you walk away, I would let you go if I knew it was the best for you..’
This is probably one of the best stories of love I have read so far. However, I noticed some misspelled words in the book which are, thankfully, very few and did not detract the smooth flow of the story.
I, therefore, give this book the rate of 4 out of 4 stars and I recommend it to those who appreciate and enjoy romantic novels and love stories. However, there are scenes in the book which are not suitable for young readers.
Running to Stand Still
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