I recently received a complimentary copy of Running for My Life by Lopez Lomong through BookSneeze, in return for an honest review. Running for My Life is a simple, yet beautiful story of a young boy that finds himself caught up in the war and violence of his home country of Sudan; but in a test of hope, endurance, and faith he overcomes everything to one day achieve something that was beyond his wildest dreams – competing in the Olympics. Inspirational? No doubt. Incredible? Of course. The horror he witnessed, the pain and suffering he endured is shocking but through what he believes to be the ultimate will of God, he was able to reach higher and go further – despite having all the odds stacked against him. Of course this is an inspirational read, but I think you can read a little deeper and find something that goes beyond the short and possibly shallow inspirational high you get after putting the book down. Primarily the explicit, yet background message of the greedy, gluttonous, and wasteful living he witnessed of those who were lucky enough not to be born in a poverty-stricken country like his own.
He tells of the American and British citizens who ate bountifully while running the refugee camp he spent most of his orphaned childhood at. How he and others dug through the trash piles, fighting over half-eaten bananas that the American and British workers left behind and dumped into a pit for them to scramble over….starving, trying to make every grain stretch. The story of how one lost boy that once ran for his life to avoid being shot to death now runs for the glory and fame of the Olympics is indeed amazing, even more so considering that he contributes his success and fortune to his faith in God. Nevertheless, underneath it all, there is a message of the human condition within himself and others. Walking away from this book I would remember two things. Firstly, we must not complain when we have struggles and failures. We must not lose hope. Lopez Lomong faced far more than most of us ever have and yet he, with a little faith, was able to overcome it and not be consumed by the violence and despair he was born into. Yet secondly, we must remember that Lopez Lomong was one boy. One boy out of the thousands. The tens of thousands that never had a chance.