Monday, March 31, 2014

"Hope Runs" by Claire Diaz Ortiz

Do you ever stumble on a book that charms you and challenges you at the same time?  Hope Runs by Claire Diaz Ortiz, Sammy Ikua Gachagua and Donald Miller is one such book.  At moments incredibly heartbreaking, then overwhelmingly triumphant, this memoir of Diaz Ortiz's friendship with Ikua Gachagua shows how an instant can change a person's life.

Written in two voices, these unlikely friends share their hopes, struggles and goals.  Claire Diaz Ortiz is on a soul-searching travel quest, looking for definition in her life.  Sammy is a resident at an orphanage in Kenya. Claire and her friend, Lara, travel around the world and land in East Africa, looking for a deeper sense of purpose.  As fate would have it, they stay at a residence connected to an orphanage. After returning home, they go back to Kenya and set up a foundation which teaches the kids the joys of running.  This provides the children with a greater sense of purpose and it provides the orphanage with much needed financial assistance.

Traveling back and forth between the United States and Kenya, Claire and Lara become the family some of the kids have never known.  They are more than financially invested in Sammy and the orphanage, they are invested emotionally and spiritually. Sometimes the "teacher" is the one who ends up learning the most. Heart-warming, poignant and hopeful, Hope Runs is a home run in my book.  I've pre-ordered two copies - one for myself and another for my 22 year old niece.

(This title was previewed through  It will be published April 15, 2014.)

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