Guest Post by Kevin Brown
Lauren Fleshman, author of Good for a Girl: A Woman Running in a Man’s World and one of the top professional runners of her generation, never achieved the highest levels of success as she (at the time) and others defined it. She talks about her running career in her memoir, but her interests lay beyond training times and significant races, as she’s much more interested in why she and so many other female runners struggled to perform as well as they (and others) expected. She redefines success away from making the Olympic team to being able to run to one’s potential and still live a healthy life. While acknowledging her limited point of view and knowledge, she talks about the obstacles and struggles that come with being a female runner: unhealthy relationships with food and body image; coaches and trainers who treat females’ bodies as if they’re interchangeable with those of men; sponsors and marketers who objectify women or fail to take into account their different physical development. While she shares the clear events of misogyny and sexism, she also conveys the less-clear, more-frequent ways in which a patriarchal sport and society ignore women’s potential, hindering them from becoming the runners and people they could be.
Good for a Girl by Lauren Fleshman. Penguin, January 2023.
Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. Twitter @kevinbrownwrite or kevinbrownwrites.weebly.com/.