Girl Runner

Girl Runner

A Novel

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:

Girl Runner is the story of Aganetha Smart, a former Olympic athlete who was famous in the 1920s, but now, at age 104, lives in a nursing home, alone and forgotten by history. For Aganetha, a competitive and ambitious woman, her life remains present and unfinished in her mind.

When her quiet life is disturbed by the unexpected arrival of two young strangers, Aganetha begins to reflect on her childhood in rural Ontario and her struggles to make an independent life for herself in the city.

Without revealing who they are, or what they may want from her, the visitors take Aganetha on an outing from the nursing home. As ready as ever for adventure, Aganetha's memories are stirred when the pair return her to the family farm where she was raised. The devastation of WWI and the Spanish flu epidemic, the optimism of the 1920s and the sacrifices of the 1930s play out in Aganetha's mind, as she wrestles with the confusion and displacement of the present.

Part historical page-turner, part contemporary mystery, Girl Runner is an engaging and endearing story about family, ambition, athletics and the dedicated pursuit of one's passions. It is also, ultimately, about a woman who follows the singular, heart-breaking and inspiring course of her life until the very end.

Publisher: Toronto : House of Anansi Press, ©2014.
ISBN: 9781770894327
Characteristics: 363 pages :,genealogical table, map ;,22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Sep 05, 2016

Well, that’s not what I expected or what the blurb said. One would expect a novel of women breaking into the Olympics and the trials, tribulations, hard work, etc. that is entailed in all of that.
However, this is Aganetha’s personal story and there’s nothing new in the pages. It’s a classic story, told many times already.
Had the author not foreshadowed (heavily & obviously) upcoming events, the story would have held some interesting surprises but, as written, the reader knows the surprises long before they are revealed.
The events are vaguely described and without detail. One is not really pulled into the lives of these people. The “surprise” left for the end, was obvious about half way through the book. The “surprise” ending was suddenly told in detail; very different than the rest of the vaguely told story. The ending was problematic for me in terms of pretty much everything. Without spoiling anything, this ending would have occurred without the story having happened. (that statement is probably more of a mystery than anything that actually happened in the book)
In the end, I asked myself what the point of the story might have been. There’s no tension, no surprises, vaguely detailed, many sad events and a pretty typical story and no resolution that wouldn’t have occurred anyway.
A pleasant enough, easy read if you want a quick read but not more than that.

JordanPedersen Jun 03, 2016

I found this to be such an interesting, gripping, and well written book! Aggie's thoughtfulness and resignation towards the events of her own life was beautifully expressed. Well crafted in the way the stories of the past and present drift and are patched together, with just enough information left out to keep me engaged. I'd highly recommend this!

May 11, 2015

A very hard book to read. Very disjointed, skipping from one period to another without and easy flow.

Feb 02, 2015

Very interesting story and well written. Would definitely recommend this book!

Dec 17, 2014

Only half complete but fully engrossed!

Nov 24, 2014

Loved this book. Aggie was so relatable. Her views on life were eloquently expressed by Snyder.

wendybird Oct 14, 2014

As a long-time distance runner, former girl, and avid reader, I was dying to get my hands on Carrie Snyder's well reviewed new novel. The text didn't disappoint - I was hard pressed to put it down! It's a thoughtful, realistic and lovely remembrance of those early women Olympians, as well as Toronto's bustling days early last century. Very well worth the time; here's hoping this novel captures some awards (as did Snyder's earlier, "The Juliet stories."

Oct 02, 2014

Such a beautifully told story...kept reading until I finished in two sittings.A story of a hard-working family, it's women the strongest members.Modern, even by today's standards, it reminds us that success is fleeting, and people forget. A family with secrets,kept from each other,and until the end, the reader as well. Another worthy Canadian writer to be proud talented.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top