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John Graham
Running As Fast As I Can
John Graham, author

Growing up in the mill slums surrounding Pittsburgh, all that Daniel Robinson ever wanted was a family who loved him. Instead, he was ignored by a mother who hid in her room praying to an unseen God, and a drunk for a father who used everyone as a punching bag.

He thought he found love in college with Elizabeth. But she dropped him as soon as someone “with better prospects” came along. Daniel spends the next ten years wandering the country throughout the turbulent 1960’s, desperate to find someone who didn’t care about money and would love him as he is. While traveling he gets caught up in the hippie drug invasion in San Francisco, racial violence in Cleveland and Detroit, and especially a deadly anti-war protest at Kent State.

Ultimately, he does find that love in Ruthie, a salt-of-the earth Ohio farm girl and her family who welcome him as one of their own. Marriage is expected—until Elizabeth shows up and seduces Daniel with false promises of love.

Daniel loses Ruthie, his job, and nearly loses his mind over what he has done to Ruthie. He again goes on the road, but he is only going through the motions—what he calls “a dead man walking.” Daniel loses hope he will ever be happy—until he meets Kate Fitzgerald, who was running from her own demons. Together they get a second chance at love and the family they both want.

Daniel is now determined, with Kate’s love and support, that his new family will be different than the abusive home he came from, but can he ever run far enough to leave behind his haunted past? Because of his experiences with street people, he is offered a job helping men coming from prison. When asked to find housing for Charles Vickers, a black man who spent twenty years in prison for a rape Daniel is convinced he never committed, he and Kate open their own home to him. This enrages the community, especially when a local girl disappears. Violence erupts—with Daniel as the focus of their rage. Should he stay and fight for Charles—and put his family at risk, or run away again?

Daniel’s story, with its harrowing social themes, conveyed through an intense personal odyssey, bridges the gap between literary and commercial fiction. It would be enjoyed by readers who were moved by the heartbreaking, yet hopeful narratives of Forrest Gump and Where the Crawdads Sing. RUNNING AS FAST AS I CAN vividly portrays a traumatic period in our history, while grappling with intense emotional and social issues we still face today.

It is an epic journey for love and forgiveness. Most important, it is a page-turner story that readers will identify with because it is, on some level, everyone’s story.

Literary Titan 2024

John David Graham's writing is impressive, characterized by meticulous planning and skillful character development. His attention to detail creates immersive scenes, bringing the characters' emotional journeys to life

Author's Reading 2023

It is a captivating book that offers a profound reading experience. It delves into various aspects of life that resonate with all of us, provoking deep introspection into one's own journey. A fascinating read.

Readers' Favorite 5 Star Review 2023

A genuine page turner. It's a story of love and forgiveness. Intensely emotional, it is also timely and relevant, highlighting social issues our society still struggles with today. It is, in my opinion, truly a masterpiece.

Reedsy Discovery Must Read 2024

Running As Fast As I Can is a poignant exploration of resilience, shattered dreams, and the complex tapestry of human relationships. It captivates readers with its emotional depth, making it a compelling and thought-provoking read. A beautiful coming-of age novel.