Why Angie Abdou thinks fans of marathon legend Deena Kastor's memoir should check out Karl Subban's book
American athlete Deena Kastor is the best female distance runner in that country's history. In her memoir, Let Your Mind Run, Kastor looks back at the pivotal races and moments that shaped her career and who she is as a runner and reflects on the mental techniques she developed over the years — the ones that turned her into an Olympic medallist and a national record holder.
The Next Chapter columnist Angie Abdou is an athlete and a writer herself, whose first novel, The Bone Cage, followed the lives of Olympic athletes at the end of their careers and was a contender for Canada Reads 2011, when it was defended by hockey player Georges Laraque.
"I love this book. As a child, Kastor's parents were looking for something to give her self-confidence and tried putting her into a bunch of sports. It was with the idea that sports have that effect of giving a child an identity, along with focus and confidence.
"She didn't excel at a number of sports. Then they put her in running and she was a natural. She was instantly beating these star runners in her local community. She went on to college on an athletic scholarship, but she didn't have a great career. She was plagued by injuries and bad performances.
Kastor has a real way of looking at every challenge as a gift. The writing is really vivid.- Angie Abdou
"She could have been done after university and just quit running. But then she learned about high altitude training in Colorado and decided to try it. She trained hard, mostly with men, and became the American record holder and won a medal at the Olympics.
"Kastor has a real way of looking at every challenge as a gift. The writing is really vivid. When I was reading it, I felt like I was living it."
"My Canadian matchup is How We Did It by Karl Subban. This is a book from someone who has three children that were drafted into the NHL. But the book is not what you would expect. People might come to it thinking it's just about his sons — P.K., Malcolm and Jordan — and them being drafted into the NHL, which is an incredible story.
"But the book is more about Karl. He came to Canada at a young age from Jamaica. He was an immigrant who wanted to play hockey but couldn't afford it. By the time he could afford skates, it was too late for him to be a successful hockey player.
It's very inspiring reading about Subban's holistic approach to raising his kids and supporting their passion for hockey.- Angie Abdou
"He focused his attention on playing basketball and had the dream of making the NBA. He didn't make it to the NBA but he says not making the dream isn't the end of the world, because then you find another dream. He found the dream of being an educator and had a 30-year successful career as an educator and a principal in some really tough schools in Ontario.
"It's a third of the book before we even get to P.K. being born. It's a Canadian success story. It's very inspiring reading about Subban's holistic approach to raising his kids and supporting their passion for hockey."
Angie Abdou's comments have been edited for length and clarity.