The mad, futile scramble to find a dry sock for Terry Fox less than a mile after the start of his Marathon of Hope was where trouble began. But trouble is something upon which author Leslie Scrivener would rather not dwell in Terry Fox: His Story. While a student at British Columbias Simon Fraser University in March of 1977, Fox was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma--a rare primary bone cancer usually affecting the kneebone and attacking the adjacent tendons and muscles--necessitating the amputation of his right leg. That this young man rejected the attractions of self-pity and depression to initiate his dream of a cross-country run to raise awareness and funds for cancer research stands as one of the true tales of Canadian heroism. And somewhere in the 234 often overwrought pages of His Story is that tale.
When Terry began his trek by dipping his artificial leg into the ocean at St Johns, Newfoundland, his competitive nature frequently led to friction--both prosthetically and philosophically. Yet time and again, Scrivener, a Faith and Ethics reporter for The Toronto Star, eschews compelling detours into Terrys frustrations with the Canadian Cancer Society and publicity-seeking municipal politicians, his explosive temper and insensitivity toward his girlfriend, and all-too-rare glimpses into his Marathon diary. Instead, the reader is offered a puzzling catalogue of details, none too small or irrelevant to be mentioned (Terry kept his gaze fixed on a 6-inch stack of mail--a lot of it was pastel-coloured--and talked listlessly.). Terry Fox may not have been a saint, but neither does he need to be beatified biographically. The fact that Terry Fox Runs for Cancer Research are held in cities all over the globe nearly a quarter-century after his death speaks eloquently of his legacy, a legacy infinitely better served by history than by His Story. --Tony Mason
Leslie Scrivener was born in Tokyo and raised in Australia,
the United States, and Canada. She holds a Master of
Journalism degree from the University of Western Ontario and
is currently Faith and Ethics reporter with the Toronto Star.
From the Hardcover edition.