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The Great American Bunion Derby by Molly Levite Griffis
The Great American Bunion Derby by Molly Levite Griffis


 
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Grade 5 Up--Griffis chronicles a little-known event from the 1920s named for the punishment endured by runners' feet as they raced across the United States. The $25,000 first prize attracted some of the world's most elite athletes, some eccentrics, and a poor, part-Cherokee high school track star named Andy Payne. If this young man could miraculously win the prize money, he could pay off the mortgage on the family farm and marry his hometown sweetheart. Never doubting his ability to succeed, he overcame illness and homesickness, and received a hero's welcome as he ran across his home state of Oklahoma on his journey from California to New York City. A "runner's heart" kept many of these men going as they formed friendships while combating bad weather, poor living conditions, and an unpredictable race course. Griffis chronicles Payne's journey along Route 66, but her writing lacks the emotional tug necessary to keep readers fully engaged. The physical hardships, emotional drain, and mental toughness that were required in order for him to win this race are not done justice. This book is an easy read that would be of interest to serious runners who could more readily empathize with Payne's amazing accomplishment.--Julie Webb, Shelby County High School, Shelbyville, KY
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