(Spoiler alert: definitely just read this book! Although the following review may give some details away, it’s still way worth reading it first hand on your own!)
I had been wanting to read Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness by Suzy Favor Hamilton for a little while now, as I’d only recently heard about it. I had only put it off because I’d been bad about picking up a book lately. However, when I finally started in on this one, I couldn’t put it down. (Note, I read the Kindle version).
What may be easily considered just a raunchy tell-all at first glance, this book was so much more. The book gives a solid history of Favor Hamilton’s running career, starting back in grade school and going through college and then professionally. I’ll skip a lot of the details, but basically, with a combination of various stresses and a long-time un-diagnosed mental illness, the author transforms herself into a high-end Las Vegas call girl.
The author bravely shares her struggles and emotions throughout her entire journey, from the ups and downs of her running career and then of course beyond. As I mentioned before, I couldn’t put it down–the whole story was super interesting. I knew her name but not much about her, and knew nothing of the “scandal” prior to hearing about the book–I must have been just young enough when the story broke to not really have paid attention or heard.
The obvious most positive outcome from Favor Hamilton sharing her story (aside from her own “happy ending”) is that it raises more awareness about mental illness and hopefully helps to aid in recognizing the negative stigma associated with it, which definitely makes it harder for those suffering to talk about it and to seek help. Yes, parts of the book were guiltily fun, but learning that the author was able to successfully get treatment and resume a fulfilling family life (and find true pleasure in running again!) was what makes Fast Girl a great story. Hopefully it can help others be brave enough to seek help if needed as well.