async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Book Review: Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero

Friday, August 23, 2019

Book Review: Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero

Disclaimer: I received a prerelease copy of Running with Sherman from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review. The book is due to be released on October 15. This post contains affiliate links.

Why on earth would I want to read a book about a guy who adopts a mangy, depressed donkey and decides he wants to run the World Burro Championships with him? Because it's Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run. Born to Run is one of my all-time favorite books about running and it is credited with starting the whole barefoot running craze.

McDougall has been sharing stories about Sherman in his New York Times column, Running with Sherman. The book grew from these anecdotes and is written in the same style as Born to Run. There's McDougall's personal story interspersed with sidebar plots, lots of history about trail running, ultramarathoning, and burro racing. As with Born to Run, Running with Sherman makes for a very compelling read.



McDougall is living in Pennsylvania Amish country on an old farm with his wife, 2 daughters, and a menagerie of animals, including cows and goats. When one of his neighbors tells him about this poor donkey, living on an animal hoarder's farm, McDougall goes to check him out. The donkey was in way worse shape than anyone could have imagined. His hooves were in such bad shape that he could barely walk. His belly was bloated from lack of exercise. His neighbor, who is a vet, tried to convince him to put the donkey down. Instead, McDougall named him Sherman, from the movie Saving Mr. Banks, and set out to heal this poor creature. He learned a lot about donkeys (and so will the reader) including how to clean out the donkey's penis.

As an animal lover, I was enthralled with the rehabilitation of Sherman. People who rescue animals should be on the fast track to heaven. It takes patience but it also takes discipline. McDougall's whole family was on board, as was his veterinarian. McDougall also eventually takes a struggling college dropout under his wing to help work with Sherman. Even though the humans were helping Sherman heal, Sherman was giving them something too. Animals have the power to heal humans and the relationship between Sherman and the college kid grows into something really special.

Sherman. Isn't he the cutest?
Sharing the image from the book.
In Running with Sherman, you'll laugh and you'll cry. You'll learn about the art of Donkey Tao, which is basically letting the donkey think everything is his idea. McDougall stumbles upon this idea when he is reminded of an old movie, The Tao of Steve, in which the main character learns the art of scoring with women. Gotta love pop culture references that apply to everyday life, right?

There are a lot of interesting characters in McDougall's story who all play a part in getting Sherman to that World Burro Championship in Leadville Colorado. You'll have to read Running with Sherman to learn the outcome, but you'll be glad you did. I wonder if this book will spike interest in burro racing? What an amazing story. I think I'm going to have to read it again!

Burro racing is all about the Tao of Donkey /via @oldrunningmom @ChrisMcDougall0 @ @penguinrandom #runchat #runner #bookclub #bookreview

Running with Sherman by Christopher McDougall will be available on October 15. Have you read Born to Run? Do you plan on reading Running with Sherman? Do you have any interesting animal rescue stories to share? Have you ever run a race with an animal?

Coming up next month is The Athlete's Guide to CBD by Scott Douglas. Call me intrigued, but CBD is everywhere! I've been doing some preliminary background reading and am anxious to share my review of this book with you. The book will be available for purchase on September 24, 2019. My review will be published on September 20. 




I'm linking up with Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness.


18 comments :

  1. Aww sounds like a really sweet story! I have a friend who dabbled in burro racing. Which reminds me of a goal I set a billion years ago: To complete a ride & tie event. It's basically a running relay where you partner with a horse and take turns running.

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    1. There's a local ride and tie in Buses Woods in November, I believe. But it's bike and run. I'd totally do THAT if you were interested!

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  2. Sounds like a cool book - does the donkey die at the end, though? I can't take those kinds of books!!

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  3. I think the art of Donkey Tao would work on a lot of stubborn people! I love this! And I love knowing that there is actually a World Burro Championship! Sounds like a great read.

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    1. Such a surprise and it zoomed to the top of my favorite running books; actually favorite books! McDougall has a way with words.

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  4. Wow, sounds like a great book, though maybe a bit TMI on the donkey care! I really liked Born To Run so I’ll have to pick this one up.

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    1. Who knew about that? There was so much I didn't know about donkeys and I didn't know I loved them. Until reading this.

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  5. I have never heard of this book but sounds like such a fun story. I love it and it sounds like a light and fun summer read. Thanks for sharing. Appreciate your book reviews!

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  6. I remember reading about that donkey race back when I first started running. I thought the runners were crazy. I don't now, LOL. That book sounds great - I'm putting it on my list.

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    1. I never knew about donkey races until reading this. I don't want to run one, though!

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  7. "People who rescue animals should be on the fast track to Heaven". YES.

    I am intrigued because I bet the author lives just south of me!

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    1. You'd like it then! He shares a lot of anecdotes about the Amish, as well as the other characters who live nearby.

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  8. I admire who rescue the animals. I love the stories about them but I don't want to read stories where they suffer or die.
    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. The best thing is, he rescues and rehabilitates this donkey. Such a feel good book!

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  9. Sounds like an interesting read! I'm a huge advocate for rescuing animals, which is how Max joined our family ;-) I did read Born to Run several years ago; that was a great read, too!

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