Running on Empty


AJ makes toast and tea, using his mother’s cherished teapot. His mother stacks biscuits in a ┬ásupermarket. Once her beautiful cakes were sold at a nearby cafe, but it closed down. HIs father keeps their small backyard vegetable garden. Grandad used to help AJ’s parents with bills and official letters, but Grandad died suddenly.

AJ tries to follow Grandad’s example, in looking after his parents, and in his running. It’s not easy when your uncle won’t try to gain you admission to the Olympic Park, especially when he works there, and it’s so close. It’s even harder when you’ve outgrown your trainers, and there’s no money to buy another pair, despite the fact that you live and breathe running.

This book hits every metre mark that Grandad paint plopped around the park. It is remarkable- moving, real, touching, funny and long lasting. ‘Running on Empty‘ is one of the best books I have read this new year. It deserves the accolades that will be forthcoming, Usain Bolt like.


Running on Empty

S.E. Durrant

(Nosy Crow)

Grandad had the chance to run for his country in Canada. Then, he met Grandma, and settled for a life with her and his daughters. AJ is determined to follow Grandad’s example, but get to Canada. He runs up and down the stairs to practise, and wishes his uncle would let him into the Olympic Park where he works, If only Grandad was still there to encourage him. If only Grandad was still there to support his mother and father. This is a brilliant book. ‘Running on Empty‘ is sensitive, real, breathable and enveloping. I urge any reader, longing for a truly wonderful book, to turn to ‘Running on Empty‘.


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