What Made Maddy Run

What Made Maddy Run

The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of An All-American Teen

Book - 2017 | First edition.
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A sports journalist relates the story of Ivy League freshman and track star Maddy Holleran, who seemingly had it all and succeeded at everything she tried, but who secretly grappled with mental illness before taking her own life during the spring semester.
"From noted ESPN commentator and journalist Kate Fagan, the heartbreaking and vital story of college athlete Madison Holleran, whose death by suicide rocked the University of Pennsylvania campus and whose life reveals with haunting detail and uncommon understanding the struggle of young people suffering from mental illness today. If you scrolled through the Instagram feed of 19-year-old Maddy Holleran, you would see a perfect life: a freshman at an Ivy League school, recruited for the track team, who was also beautiful, popular, and fiercely intelligent. This was a girl who succeeded at everything she tried, and who was only getting started. But when Maddy began her long-awaited college career, her parents noticed something was different. Previously indefatigable, Maddy became withdrawn, and her thoughts centered on how she could change her life. In spite of thousands of hours of practice and study, she contemplated transferring from the school that had once been her dream. When Maddy's dad, Jim, dropped her off for the first day of spring semester, she held him a second longer than usual. That would be the last time Jim would see his daughter. What Made Maddy Run began as a piece that Kate Fagan, a columnist for espnW, wrote about Maddy and her experience. What started as a profile of a successful young athlete whose life ended in suicide became so much larger when Fagan started to hear from other college athletes also grappling with mental illness. This is the story of Maddy Holleran and her struggle with depression, but it also reveals the mounting pressures young people, and college athletes in particular, face to be perfect, especially in an age of relentless connectivity and social-media saturation."--Jacket.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780316356541
Branch Call Number: 616.85844 FAGAN
Characteristics: xii, 305 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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ArapahoeSarahH Dec 18, 2019

This was a well thought out and researched novel about a heartbreaking and hard to discuss topic. Transitioning from high school to college was hard when I was 18 and leaving my small town for the big city, and I can only imagine how much more difficult the transition is now with social media, texting and even more competitive admission requirements for both academics and athletics. This book thoughtfully and compassionately examines Maddy's life, as well as provides insight to the overall world of college athletics programs and sheds an incredible light on the issues of depression, mental illness and suicide. I encourage anyone who knows someone making the jump from high school to college - in athletics or not, to read this book. Only by openly discussing and learning from each other can we end the stigma.

CarleeMcDot Apr 24, 2018

I don't know how, but I had never heard of this book before (and I don't even really remembering hearing about the story when it happened). After I got back from Boston I thought I'd reach for a few running books and this one appeared on a lot of the "Must Read" lists in the running realm. After reading it I can see why. Maddy was an all-American student athlete (playing soccer and running track in high school) who killed herself during her second semester of college. If you know me, you know suicide prevention has a HUGE piece of my heart (I have helped to fundraise for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for multiple years), so this story rocked me to my core. I am thankful Kate, an ESPNW columnist, along with Maddy's family had the strength to share this story. We need to change the narrative, talk about mental health and break the stigma surrounding anxiety, depression and other forms of mental illness. Suicide is not a black and white topic, so this book does not attempt to wrap this story up in a bow or try to make sense of everything, it is simply trying to get the conversation started so fewer people get caught up in the fierce swirl that can lead people to contemplate this permanent decision. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

Apr 16, 2018

This book completely resonated with me. All it takes it is a simple visit to Maddy's Instagram feed: https://www.instagram.com/maddyholleran/ and you see a beautiful, happy girl. Enjoying college, smiling, surrounded by friends. Despite what you see, this radiant young lady took her life. My generation spends so much time worrying about looking perfect to everyone else, whether that is in reality or behind a screen, behind an online persona. If we took the time to actually converse with one another beyond quick back and forth texts, beyond emojis, beyond a comment on a picture... then we could actually be there for one another. I highly recommend that all young people who struggle with their image or depression or anxiety to read this book. I love the perspective it provided me.

mko123 Jan 20, 2018

A tragic, cautionary tale for any parents and youth who dream of college and pro-sports. Maddy is any-girl-usa who meets the grim reality of college sports--where grueling practices all but take over her life, as she tries to balance grades and make new friends her freshman year. Something has to give. But the sports business train cannot stop for anyone. This book begs the question of how did we as a society allow a fun game for kids to turn into an all-consuming beast.

Dec 26, 2017

I had heard about this book on NPR and am numb after reading it. What are we doing to this generation? I have 3 sons who are college age and it was a struggle to fight off the "it will look good to colleges" attitude. The labeling they have dealt with, the constant coaching in sports; all of this is having a toll on them and it's not beneficial. It takes a real effort for kids to be kids; get dirty, play pick-up games, but gosh, we need to let this happen. Fortunately, my family lives in a neighborhood with like-minded families, so we could let our kids wander (with a walkie talkie) and just be.
This is a must read for high school principals (they promote this "do everything" atmosphere), teachers, parents, and coaches to hopefully put everything in perspective. Have students/children put up the phones and have conversations.

Nov 04, 2017

A very eye opening book into the world of depression and suicide. This book showed how social media is effecting our generation today. It was interesting because it showed a lot of emails from Madison and text messages she had sent...so you felt you could see into her life without actually knowing her. The book felt like a research assignment which it was.

Sep 26, 2017

Sobering read, and very apropos as I send my eldest child off to college. With any story where you know the ending in advance, I wanted it to end differently.


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