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Thirty-Thousand Steps : A Memoir of Sprinting toward Life after Loss

Thirty-Thousand Steps : A Memoir of Sprinting toward Life after Loss

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By: Jess Keefe

Thirty-Thousand Steps is a powerful and transformative memoir that interweaves the author’s obsessive training to becoming a distance runner, along with her singular, focused research into the science of addiction in the shadow of grief after the death of her brother.

You can’t run from your problems forever. Breakups, dead-end jobs, bumps in the road to adulthood—author Jess Keefe and her little brother Matt navigate them together as roommates, sharing late-night conversations and laughs. But when Matt’s heroin addiction comes roaring back after lying dormant for years, an overdose on a warm October night changes everything. In the year that follows her brother’s death, Keefe tries to start over, but her grief and trauma keep her obsessed with the past. She wonders how things could have turned out differently, diving into research about addiction and drugs and excavating their shared childhood and young adulthood for clues about what happened. To soothe her aching body and scattered brain, she takes on a new physical challenge: training for her first half marathon. She pushes her body to its limits to quiet the chaos in her mind, but as the race date nears, her recklessness catches up with her. With propulsive narrative scenes, a unique voice, empathy, and humor, Keefe combines her grieving experience with explorations of the social, political, and scientific drivers that influenced what happened to her brother. Thirty-Thousand Steps, a powerful, transformative memoir, explores the psychosocial risk factors that lead to addiction, the cudgel of Catholicism, the joy and shame in the early-aughts queer experience, and the extent to which one can push mind and body to regenerate after a major loss.

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