• Run Towards the Danger

  • Confrontations with a Body of Memory
  • By: Sarah Polley
  • Narrated by: Sarah Polley
  • Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (87 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“A visceral and incisive collection of six propulsive personal essays.” – Vanity Fair

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

Oscar-nominated screenwriter, director, and actor Sarah Polley’s Run Towards the Danger explores memory and the dialogue between her past and her present

These are the most dangerous stories of my life. The ones I have avoided, the ones I haven’t told, the ones that have kept me awake on countless nights. As these stories found echoes in my adult life, and then went another, better way than they did in childhood, they became lighter and easier to carry.

Sarah Polley’s work as an actor, screenwriter, and director is celebrated for its honesty, complexity, and deep humanity. She brings all those qualities, along with her exquisite storytelling chops, to these six essays. Each one captures a piece of Polley’s life as she remembers it, while at the same time examining the fallibility of memory, the mutability of reality in the mind, and the possibility of experiencing the past anew, as the person she is now but was not then. As Polley writes, the past and present are in a “reciprocal pressure dance.” 

Polley contemplates stories from her own life, ranging from stage fright to high-risk childbirth to endangerment and more. After struggling with the aftermath of a concussion, Polley met a specialist who gave her wholly new advice: to recover from a traumatic injury, she had to retrain her mind to strength by charging towards the very activities that triggered her symptoms. With riveting clarity, she shows the power of applying that same advice to other areas of her life in order to find a path forward, a way through. Rather than live in a protective crouch, she had to run towards the danger.

In this extraordinary book, Polley explores what it is to live in one’s body, in a constant state of becoming, learning, and changing.

©2022 Sarah Polley (P)2022 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER

*LONGLISTED FOR THE 2022 TORONTO BOOK AWARDS*

Named a Most-Anticipated Book of 2022 by Entertainment Weekly, Lit Hub, and AV Club

“Fascinating, harrowing, courageous, and deeply felt, these explorations of ‘dangerous stories,’ harmful past events, and trials of the soul speak to all who’ve encountered dark waters and have had to navigate them.”  —Margaret Atwood via Twitter

“[An] authorial debut. . . . In six sprawling yet meaty essays, Polley, now 43, recalls a life in which playing the roles of children was mandatory and nearly constant (her first acting job was at age 4) but actually being a child was regarded an unnecessary encumbrance for all involved. . . . In what is arguably the collection’s best essay, Polley wrestles with the case of Jian Ghomeshi. . . . [F]or all that’s been written about it in the #MeToo era, I have never seen anyone lay it out with as much precision and self-scrutiny as Polley does here. . . . The little girl who carried the weight of Hollywood movie budgets and theater actors’ salaries on her shoulders is now a grown woman whose stolen childhood has made her at once a stunningly sophisticated observer of the world and an imperfect witness to the truth. Her willingness to embrace such paradoxes, in this book as well as in her films, is the mark of a real artist.” Meghan Daum, The New York Times

“[Run Towards the Danger is] a roving, psychologically probing memoir in essays. . . . On the page, Polley turns out to be as brave, funny, and unself-serious as she is on the screen.” —The New Yorker

What listeners say about Run Towards the Danger

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  • Overall
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I loved it.

I heard Rachel Cusk say in an interview once that the highest experience a reader can have is the sense of arriving at a truth you didn’t know you knew. I felt that way many times throughout this collection. And Sarah Polley's narration (particularly her impression of Dr. Collins) added another dimension to the experience. I usually prefer to read essays, but I’m glad I listened to this.

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Amazing resilient person

I enjoyed her perspective on her life and how at different times in her life it changed. Her ability to find something to be grateful for in difficult times was inspirational.

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Intensely beautiful book

I highly recommend listening to Sarah Polley narrate her book. Like listening to a best friend who has the best stories. Her stories are generous, thoughtful and deeply moving.

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Took me by surprise !

I was expecting mystery, action, danger. I became pleasantly surprised as I listened. This is a wonderful gift for her children and family to cherish. This is a wonderful incentive for me to put memories to paper. I'm sure that it helps to get some memories out into words so that you can investigate why you were effected, and even whether those memories are worth the impact that you have imagined. I enjoyed the book.

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Retrospective on child acting

Moving stories that stay with you; Sarah documents strength in the face of struggle, not only in her acting career, but also her #metoo experience, pregnancy & child birth, and healing from a concussion.

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Really Just a Book About Her Diffcult Moments

The book is well written but there is no consistent theme from one story to the next. It is really just her description of difficult life circumstances she encountered, how she coped and how they affected her. While I sympathize with her regarding her stories about Jian Ghomeshi and Terry Gilliam, I find her to be self righteous and self absorbed. She writes from the perspective that only her thoughts about the matter are important and is indignant that not everyone sees it her way. Also, I think it is ironic that she calls the book "Run Toward the Danger" but she did just the opposite with regard to her stage fright and case against Ghomeshi.