As much of a curse this book has thus far been for me, it brings me great happiness to know that it has made a positive impact on the lives of others. Every once in a while, since the book’s release, I get random strangers picking me off the ground, dusting the dirt off my shoulders, and saying to me, “I’ll walk with you.” Some fall to the wayside after a while. And some have cuffed their hands to mine and pledged, “To the end, friend.”
Of late I’ve been corresponding with a Fuel fan who is in the midst of waging a fierce battle against cancer. Still, he managed to squeeze out a review of my book. In the face of failure, self belief can erode, be depleted. For a long time I had been running on empty, only to be replenished by these words from him:
Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 4:47pm
I told myself a few weeks back that I would write a little something for this book I read recently. Well, being the procrastinator that I can be, I finally got down to doing it today.
Fuel by Jeremy Chin. Photo taken from the book’s Facebook fan page
Fuel seems a simple enough title for a debut effort by Jeremy Chin. May seem mundane, boring even but when I started reading it on a cold Saturday night, I only stopped as it was 3am as I had some urgent matters to attend to in the morning.
Needless to say, with all my sorties out of the way, I devoured the remaining pages hungrily as I wanted to know what happened to the protagonist, Timothy Malcolm Smith. As I turned the last page, I was left with a maelstrom of emotions within me. For those of you who know me personally, you’d know why when you read the book.
The story revolves around the life of Timothy Malcolm Smith (Timmy) who had the life long dream of running the New York marathon and winning it, on his debut. The mechanics and science of marathon running which was intertwined with the plot was ample evidence that Jeremy did his research for the book well.
Interspersed in the book are some interesting nuggets on some words we may not be familiar with. Amongst other, Ankhura (which means “East meets West” in Sanskrit) and Yichalal (which means “nothing is impossible” in Amharic).
Without giving out too much lest be accused of spoiling your reading experience, Timmy found a new dream in his life. With this new development, Timmy is torn as chasing his long held dream may mean letting go of his new dream.
I don’t normally clip a pen to the book I’m reading, more so a fiction piece. But within the first half hour, I had to start over again as I underlined excerpts of the book which was just simply beautiful writing. What caught my attention from the start is the fact that Jeremy was able to put into words how most of us would feel when we’re in love but are unable to elucidate.
The book struck many a chord with me as the pages flew by. A thought occurred to me as I was halfway through the book. I came to the conclusion that what I was holding was more than just a book for the author. It was a labour of love. It was a window into his heart. I kept telling myself that it was an impossibility to write such words if you didn’t mean it. And to top it all, I felt my eyes go moist as I journeyed with Timmy on his epic run towards the finish line at the New York marathon.
The book continues to resonate in my consciousness despite it being almost a month since I finished it. And I have a copy of it in my laptop bag just because at times reading some of the highlighted words reminded me of how our dreams makes this temporary and fragile life of ours worth living.
More importantly, the book reminds me that every moment, each day and every person in our life is a gift. And when we choose to embrace that gift, everything else pales in comparison as our life is already perfect.
To conclude, allow me to share what parts of an email from Jeremy in response to mine which I sent having finished the book;
I think I have cried on over fifty occasions, writing this book, quite often in public places, at the cafes I used to write. I too had once lost someone very dear to me, and it was from that experience that this line in Fuel was born, “I would not trade this pain. Not trade it for a second of the time I got to spend with her.”
These memories… precious little gems they are. And they are the greatest proof that there is no force greater than that which exists between two people who are in love. This thing… it is a thing worth pursuing with all your heart.
Tell me, how could you not be tempted in the slightest to read this book?
I searched high and low for the book after I was told of it. I got my copy at Kinokuniya KLCC. I have since bought a few extra copies at MPH as gifts to those who needed a little fuel to keep them going. So, if you can’t find it at your local bookstore, let me know. I’ll send you one.
If you like it, then buy one copy of your own to give away. This book is definitely recommended for all the closeted softies and hopeless romantics. And for those who’ve lost your hope on that silly little thing called love, this may just be the antidote to find your lost mojo for it.
You can find a few chapters of the book at Jeremy’s website www.justjezza.com. Go ahead & click on that link, I know I’ve piqued your interest somewhat.
Also, here’s a list of reasons why we should be supporting an upcoming author like Jeremy rather than propping up the bloated bank account of a former Prime Minister. Hilarious in it’s logic I tell you. Doesn’t make it less true though…. :p