Friday, December 15, 2017

Book Review: Life's Too Short To Go So F*cking Slow

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

A lot of you will look at the title of this month's Taking the Long Way Home book club selection and immediately decide that this book isn't for you. Heck, you might not even read my review. That's unfortunate because if you don't, you are missing out on an amazing story. While I understand that the use of the f-word is offensive to many people, I beg of you to overlook it and read what is truly one of the best books I've read this year.

Susan Lacke was a divorced self-proclaimed trainwreck, an overweight pack-a-day smoker with a penchant for bad relationships and boxed wines. A college professor, she took a job in Arizona, working for a professor who was an intimidating, imposing, accomplished athlete. They strike up an unlikely friendship, he drags her to the pool, she starts swimming, and yadda yadda yadda, the next thing you know, she's signed up for an Ironman triathlon.

And so it goes.



"It didn't make sense", says Susan Lacke, describing her friendship with Carlos Nuñez. As she says,
...."That's not the real story. Running and triathlon didn't transform me. My friendship with Carlos Nuñez.. did."
I was familiar with Susan Lacke from articles she authored in Competitor Magazine and Women's Running. Her writing style is light and humorous, always entertaining, even when she's writing about something very serious. In Life's Too Short To Go So F*cking Slow, her retelling of her first 5k had me laughing out loud. She was so proud when she crossed that finish line, that she texted Carlos, who responded callously with "45 minutes for a 5k? What did you do, skip?" But was Lacke crushed? No, she admitted that she was motivated to improve. She continued to crush goals, and lost 70 pounds over 4 years. She also fell in love with running--"the journey and all that other inspirational crap runners talk about."

After watching Carlos finish an Ironman, Lacke told Carlos that he was "superhuman". Carlos told Lacke that "anyone can do an Ironman. Anyone." Ok then! At that moment she decided that she was going to do an Ironman.  After telling her that "this might be the dumbest thing you've ever done", Carlos took her for a humiliating bike ride, as if to illustrate his point. Then Carlos offered to help her train in the sadistic way that he trained himself. She learned that Ironman was hard, and as in life, "a lot can go wrong". Do you complain and quit, or do you make forward progress? Guess what option she took?

Throughout the book, Lacke shares much of the wisdom she learned from her mentor. Throughout the training, there were tears and fighting, yet they developed a deep friendship. Maybe his methods wouldn't work for everyone but he managed to inspire and bring out the best in her. The book is full of quotes and advice Carlos dispatched along the way. The title of the book is one of those quotes. He believed that the only way to be your best was to give your best. And if a little ass kicking was needed, then so be it. Having trained with a no-nonsense coach myself, I can attest to the effectiveness of that no-excuses, do or die approach. You want results? You have to work for it.

I read this book over the course of 3 nights. It's a quick read and while I would have loved more details, after I finished, I felt that the book was just perfect the way it was. This is a tribute to a once-in-a-lifetime friendship, something that many of us will never experience. Life's Too Short To Go So F*cking Slow is probably one of the best books I've read all year.

Although personally, I would have gone with my favorite quote of the book for the title: "Eat. Pace yourself. Don't be a dumbass." 

Have you read this book? What was your favorite piece of advice from Carlos? Have you ever had a friend who made a lifelong impact on you?

Although I'm no longer hosting an official link up, if you write a review of this book and want me to share it here on the blog, please send me the link and I'll include it in the post! Be sure to link back to this post. Sharing is caring. As always, I appreciate your interest in the book club.


For next month, we're reading a fictional story about a man who finds running after an asteroid hits the country where he lives! Even if you don't like post-apocalyptic stories, I think you'll find The End of the World Running Club completely readable and entertaining! I couldn't put it down... meet me here on the blog January 19 for my review!



I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for the Friday 5!


47 comments :

  1. This sounds like a fantastic beach book for me to take on my trip next week!

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    1. It's hard to put down. Let me know what you think!

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  2. Nah, I'm not put off by the title. It sounds fabulous.
    I wish it were available in our state library system.!
    I'll check this one out, so to speak, but elsewhere.

    Reading this review and scrolling past your "sub-title," "Because being on the sideslines is no fun..." is making me itchy. Come on, June!

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    1. If you have a Kindle or iPad, you can download it for about $8--it's well worth it.

      Kinda jealous of your June retirement...

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  3. Hah! I like your quote as words to live by. I'm going to order that January book right now before I forget.

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  4. Actually the title makes me even more interested. This sounds like an excellent book. Putting it on my list.

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  5. I was a little put off by the title when I first saw it but after reading your review it sounds like an awesome book I would like to read!

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    1. I really think the title, while provocative, is unfortunate. A lot of people are going to pass this one up and that's a shame.

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  6. I love her writing style. And I want a Carlos in my life. I could use a cattle prod to the hind quarters about now.

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    1. Right? Becky was my Carlos. My current coaches are amazing, but there is no cattle prod.

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  7. Ok I'm just going to say it-- does anyone else think Carlos sounds like a verbally abusive jackass? I haven't read the book so maybe i shouldn't have an opinion but, i read Susan's post about this on No Meat Athlete first and that "did you skip?" comment made me think he sounded like an ahole. Anyone else?

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    1. Read.the.book. That's all I can tell you. You will change your mind about Carlos.

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  8. I hadn't heard of this book before. I'll have to look into it. But I agree with Katie that he sounds kind of like a jerk. Hopefully the book talks about the relationship more so he comes off better :)

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    1. He comes off way better in the book. Without spoiling it for you, you'll change your mind. You might even shed tears...

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  9. This sounds like an interesting book, and you are right, I saw a bike on the cover and thought "nah... not my kind of book", but i'll add it to the list.

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  10. Haha, this sounds like a funny book! Good for her for pushing herself. :)

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  11. I love Susan Lacke's writing! She's hilarious.

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  12. Stop it. Just stop! I barely have time to read blogs, and you keep giving me books to add to my to-read list. Thanks. :-)

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    1. This is a quick read, so you can just stop complaining!

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  13. One of the best books you've read all year? I'll have to pick it up! I love the quotes!

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    1. It was really good! I can't share too much or I'll ruin it for you...

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  14. Looks like a great book. I'm not at all offended by the title!

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  15. This sounds like a great book! I'm adding it to my Christmas list right now :-)

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  16. Ohhhh that sounds like a super good read!!! I'll have to check that out!!

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  17. Definitely need to read this one!! Thanks for the review.

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  18. OK I'll read it. It's not the f'ck in the title is the 'go slow'. That set me on my back foot, kind of like when someone says 'easy run' and you know damn well they have to work to hit that pace. Thanks for the review, I have been REALLY curious about this book but feared it was going to end up being some sort of humble brag about being a 'slow' runner in the front of the pack.

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    1. Oh, but Beth, that's not what it's about at all....

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  19. Sounds like a great book and an awesome story! I love a nice quick ready, especially if it makes me chuckle!

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    1. Oh, you'll laugh and you'll cry. Such a good read. I'll have to re-read it.

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  20. I'm glad I read your review! I don't like the title. Not because I'm offended by the language, but by the insinuation that slow isn't as good as fast. Sometimes I like to go do, more time to enjoy what I love. Your review turned it around, though, and I'll add this to my list. :)

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    1. The title doesn't really tell the reader anything about the book. I do think it's not a good choice for a title but I hope it doesn't turn people off. I hate for anyone not to read this.

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  21. I just finished the book yesterday. Started it Christmas morning, as it was a gift from my wife; an amazing gift!
    I believe Carlos was my kind of guy, and so is Susan (for a girl she a pretty cool dude).
    Their relationship was perfectly flawed and more co-dependent than she let’s on, I believe. But I think that is one of the things that made it work...it was a friendship done extremely well. I laughed, I cried, I could see it all in my mind’s eye; It reminded me that I am fortunate enough to have a similar friendship and it made conscious enough to enjoy the hell out of that friendship RIGHT NOW!

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    1. You hit the nail on the head. They really were perfect friends--I couldn't help but marvel that there was nothing romantic between them! That is a once in a lifetime kind of friendship.

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