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Die unglaubliche Reise des Smithy Ide by Ron…

Die unglaubliche Reise des Smithy Ide (original 2004; edition 2008)

by Ron McLarty, Rainer Schmidt (Übersetzer)

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1,742664,053 (3.81)49
Title:Die unglaubliche Reise des Smithy Ide
Authors:Ron McLarty
Other authors:Rainer Schmidt (Übersetzer)
Info:Goldmann TB (2008), Taschenbuch, 416 Seiten
Collections:Your library, Gelesen und meins
Tags:meins, USA, 2012

Work details

The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty (2004)

  1. 00
    The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (julienne_preacher, MurphyWaggoner)
    MurphyWaggoner: Both are quests of men seeking to break through a self-imposed shell of isolation to find healing and do so by setting out on a trek across country.

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English (63)  Swedish (2)  Italian (1)  All (66)
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
Sadly, my month-long streak of reading really good books has come to an end with "The Memory of Running." This meandering ramble lost me at page 30. I'm done. ( )
  dcmr | Jul 4, 2017 |
The book tells the story of the Ide family: Mom, Pop, their son Smithy, and older sister Bethany, a sweet girl whose mental problems (unspecified but seemed schizophrenic to me) were a constant source of stress and sadness for her family. The story is told (in first person) by Smithy when he is 43 years old, and Bethany has been missing for 20 years. Smithy was a skinny boy who’d run everywhere when he was a kid (you’re a runner, Smithy). Unfortunately, as an adult he’d become an obese, chain-smoking, friendless alcoholic with a boring, dead-end job. In other words, a pathetic loser. He isn’t even particularly kind, or intelligent. But even so, you feel yourself feeling sorry for him, and pulling for him.

As the story starts, Mom and Pop have been in a severe car accident and have been taken to separate hospitals. Smithy shuttles back and forth between the two remaining members of his family only to lose them both after a few days’ vigil. He returns home and makes funeral arrangements, and Norma shows up at the funeral. Norma was a childhood friend who became a paraplegic as a child when a car hit her. Norma had a life-long crush on Smithy, who mostly saw her as an annoying girl, and he avoided seeing her after the accident that bound her to a wheelchair. (I told you he wasn’t particularly kind.) But Norma shares the devastation that Smithy feels, because she loved his family as her own.

After the funeral Smithy discovers a letter among Pop’s unopened mail that informs him that a deceased indigent in Los Angeles has been identified as his sister Bethany. Unstrung and deeply in grief, he finds himself in the garage, where he’s confronted with his childhood bicycle. He gets on the bike, still wearing the blue suit from the funeral, and pedals away.

I’ll not say more, except to say that Smithy goes on a quest, finds himself in different situations, meets many people, and calls Norma regularly, until she becomes almost a touchstone in his life. Interspersed with scenes from his quest are scenes from the Ide family’s past, and lead up to Bethany’s final permanent separation from the family that loved her.

I hate overstating a book and although it wasn’t perfect, I really loved the story and characters that were created here. And I really hated that it had to end.
( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
This book was very close to a 5 for me, because the writing is wonderful. It's written from the viewpoint of the main character, so the reader must keep that in mind. With that consideration, it was easy to "know" this character, Smithy. The conversations and situations are oh so realistic. They may not be your world, but they're down to earth and natural. For all his lack of confidence, Smithy has a good heart and a lot to learn. He reminds me a little of Forrest Gump. The story is full of hilarity and heart-felt moments, and suspense when Smithy manages to get himself into predicaments of one sort or another, usually not his fault. He handles things with the same unassuming good nature that Forrest Gump would.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. ( )
  Rascalstar | Jan 21, 2017 |
Very funny book. It is sweet and picaresque and almost reminds me of Forest Gump or Huckelberry Finn the way Smithie Ide views the world--paranoid modern day America that is--through the eyes of a guy with a big heart and an even bigger enourmous gut as he cycles across America. ( )
  Gary_Power | Jul 10, 2016 |
I read this a couple of years ago and doubled my reading speed, so that I could find out what happens next. I have just re-purchased as I gave my original copy to a receptionist who was kind to me (I hope she enjoyed it.) I'll come back and tell you if it was as good as I remembered! ( )
  .cris | May 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
Although Mr. McLarty's book is not wildly original, it has a generic likability and the upward trajectory of a shy guy's recovery from loneliness. Its itinerary is also wry enough to sustain interest, as when Bethany winds up in a hippie commune that believes in the sanctity of vegetables. Smithy's actual bike trip is punctuated by encounters with people and books (his revived interest in reading provides a small, amusing subplot) that affirm its underlying faith in human nature. For all the hardships and wrong turns it describes, "The Memory of Running" amounts to a string of happy accidents. In this story, which has a dark side but no real shadows, even being hit by a pickup truck can turn out to be a life-affirming vignette.
added by SimoneA | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Jan 3, 2005)
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In loving memory of Diane Tesitor McLarty, wife, mother, friend, artist, who wrote the books of Zachary, Lucas, and Matthew. Masterpieces all.
First words
My parents' Ford wagon hit a concrete divider on U.S. 95 outside Biddeford, Maine, in August 1990.
Sometimes there are moments when a person has to make a decision, as opposed to just letting things just happen. A person then has to happen himself. I have never done this. Life bounced off me, and bounced me, and now it was going to bounce me to death. (p. 77)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Every decade seems to produce a novel that captures the public's imagination with a story that sweeps readers up and takes them on a thrilling ride, unforgettable ride. McLarty's Memory of Running is this decade's novel. By all accounts, especially his own, Smithson, "Smithy" Ide is a loser. An overweight, friendless, chain-smoking, forty-three-year-old drunk, Smithy's life becomes completely unhinged when he loses his parents and long-lost sister withing the span of one week. Rolling down the driveway of his parents' house in Rhode Island on his own Raleigh bicycle to escape his grief, the emotionally bereft Smithy embarks on an epic, hilarious, luminous, and extraordinary journey of discovery and redemption.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0143036688, Paperback)

Ron McLarty has joined the ranks of writers of the quirky hero with The Memory of Running. His hero, Smithy Ide, is in the grand tradition of Ignatius J. Reilly of A Confederacy of Dunces and Quoyle of The Shipping News. What these gentlemen have in common is their lumpen-loser looks, their outsider status and their general befuddlement about the way the world works and their place in it. Smithy rises above them because of his self-effacing nature, his great capacity for love, his inability to show it and his endless willingness to forgive.

Smithy is a 279-pound, hard-drinking, chain-smoking, 43-year-old misfit who works in a G.I. Joe factory putting arms and legs on the action heroes. (How did McLarty come up with that?) He is also the most beguiling anti-hero to come into view in a long, long time. McLarty, an award-winning actor and playwright best known for his many appearances on TV in Law & Order, Sex and the City, The Practice, and Judging Amy, has added another star to his creative crown with this novel.

The first sentence of the book is: "My parents' Ford station wagon hit a concrete divider on U.S. 95 outside Biddeford, Maine, in August 1990." This tragic accident eventually claims both their lives. It is on the day of their funeral that Smithy finds a letter to his father about Bethany, his beloved and deeply troubled sister, stating that, "Bethany Ide, 51, died from complications of exposure... and she has since that time been in the Los Angeles Morgue West." Beautiful Bethany, given to taking off her clothes in public places, holding impossible poses for long periods of time, responding to voices that only she can hear, and disappearing for no known reason. This time, she has been gone for many years and now Smithy knows that she died destitute and alone. When he reads the letter, he is drunk, grief-stricken and, despite a house full of people, he is alone. He goes out to the garage to smoke and have another drink and spies his old Raleigh bicycle. He sits on it, flat tires and all, wheels it to the end of the driveway--and--Smithy doesn’t know it yet, but he is going to ride a bicycle from Maine to Los Angeles to claim his sister's remains.

On the road he meets the good, the bad, and the really bad. He frequently calls Norma, the Ides' across-the-street neighbor, confined to a wheelchair for years, and always in love with him. He has never acknowledged nor returned her ardor, but he starts to count on her friendship during his travels. Their conversations are sweet and revelatory. McLarty has done a superb job of showing us who Smithy is and who he is becoming. It's a wonderful story told with great poignancy and humor. --Valerie Ryan

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:31 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

By all accounts, especially his own, Smithson "Smithy" Ide is a loser. An overweight, friendless, chain-smoking, forty-three-year-old drunk, Smithy's life becomes completely unhinged when he loses his parents and long-lost sister within the span of one week. Rolling down the driveway of his parents' house in Rhode Island on his old Raleigh bicycle to escape his grief, the emotionally bereft Smithy embarks on an epic, hilarious, luminous, and extraordinary journey of discovery and redemption.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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