“A glimpse into the college life of an athlete, Sprint Dreams tackles serious topics while racing toward the finish line in Faith Dismuke’s debut.”Cecelia Beckman, Sheaf & Ink
The Story: Sprint Dreams
Sprint Dreams is about an eighteen year old named Makeda Delane. She is smart, determined, and ready for a chance to earn a full ride scholarship and a permanent place as a collegiate track and field runner at her University.
When a series of unfortunate events take place on top of bad decisions made, Makeda must decide whether to do what is right even if it costs her her chance at a National Title.
My Thoughts of Sprint Dreams
I’ve recently had the opportunity to read advance reader copies of books that dive into the depths of racism, discrimination, and the Black Lives Matter movement. I was swept away by the strong current of each story. Thrashed and pummeled by the ferocity of what these authors brought to the surface.
I wanted to hold onto the hope these stories embraced. Savor them a bit longer after the final turn of the page, like tea leaves steeped in boiling water, where the flavor becomes more potent as it lingers in the cup, the taste sweeter as it slowly cools. I thought that Sprint Dreams would have that similar feeling, something familiar, yet new. But this novel lacked the kind of focus that blends the plot and subplots together that is needed to create a more fluid and solid story.
What was notable in Sprint Dreams was Faith Dismuke’s portrayal of a student athlete’s day-to-day life. These particular scenes are drawn with broad unduly strokes. Mixing the pulsing hues of gold and indigo with the metallic brilliance of vermilion and iron molding these contrasting images of the ostentatious party scene and the grueling practices and meets of track and field.
Let’s dive a little deeper
As the story progressed, I noticed Dismuke raised a number of serious topics in her novel. Although these are relevant and needed topics to be examined with poise and astute sensitivity, when using too many, the writing begins to feel convoluted and overwhelming. Gradually weighing the reader down like stones in an already heavy coat.
It sadly makes these topics underrepresented in their scope, magnitude, and impact it has on the reader. Had Dismuke focused on one or two of the abundant subplots, the story could have been a more profound read.
There were moments of storytelling that, for me, brought back memories of being on the track field team. Drenched in sweat. Heart pounding. Lungs burning with each ragged breath, and the metallic taste mixed with salty sweat on your tongue. Everyone a blur as your feet carry you across the finish line.
But that adrenaline, that rush of excitement, was fleeting. It was muted by the staggering amount of subplots, the banal sub characters whose points of views I couldn’t truly empathize with, and the scarcity of detailed descriptive writing during the running scenes, could have made all the difference in making this a rich and gripping story.
One More Thing
Without giving too much away, Sprint Dreams‘s major success lies in Makeda’s ability to make incredibly difficult choices. Knowing the consequences of her convictions could take away everything she’s worked so hard to achieve. She knows what happened to her and an untold number of other runners will leave a profound stain on her conscience, like spilled ink on a bare canvas, but Makeda does what’s right all the same.
It’s a profound illustration of a devastating truth that rarely sees the light of day, as it’s hidden like midday shadows in the confines of the victims minds: that there are people who abuse their power for their own personal gain and discard those they hurt like an old pair of shoes no longer of use.
With this in mind, Makeda’s willingness to take that seemingly insurmountable step to speak up for herself and countless of others who chose to stay silent is a remarkable act of bravery. Even with the scars that choice may inflict. She knew it was the right thing to do.
Happy Reading ̴ Cece
RATING: – Adequately Inked
Publisher: Faith Dismuke
Publication Date: June 2020
Jacket Art: AJWILLDESIGN
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Sheaf & Ink feels strongly in supporting victims of abuse. Sprint Dreams depicts predatory and abusive content and if any young person needs support from a traumatic experience please visit these websites for help: