The Journey is as Important as the Ending

A number of years ago, I got a package of material in the mail.  It wasn’t the usual submission package; it was a pile of newspaper containing a series of articles written by a Providence Journal columnist named Mark Patinkin.  He’d been referred to me by Jon Karp, then of Random House, now head of Simon & Schuster, so I took the submission seriously.  I can’t claim, though, that I got to reading it that quickly.

Partially, I wasn’t sure what to make of this pile of newspaper.  Where was the book in it? I wondered.

One afternoon, I started reading.  I was single at the time and fatherhood was about as far from my mind as one could imagine.  Yet, as I read these columns about a young boy named Andrew, I kept finding myself tearing up and even full-on crying at times.  I had to stop reading time and time again because I was so moved by what I read.  I can’t imagine what it was like for those who read these only as the newspaper published them, rather than having the chance to read them one after another immediately.  The suspense must have been excruciating.  The story was heartbreaking:  A young boy gets a deadly disease.  Can he survive?  Can his family survive?  Priests are called.  Masses are said.  Life-changing surgery is done.  But can he recover?  The cover of the book tells you so much, but the journey to become that boy, to be in that place where that photo could be taken is so much more complicated and affecting.

As a father today, I cannot begin to imagine the pain the Bateson family went through . . . or the ultimate joy.

Originally published in hardcover by Center Street, an imprint of Hachette, under the title Up and Running, this book has just been reissued in eBook format by Quadrant Books, an imprint of Endpapers Press.

This is truly a story of tragedy turned into triumph.  Read it.  You will not be disappointed.

Z

Just the Way He was Before:
The Inspiring True Story of a Boy’s Survival and Triumph

Mark Patinkin
Quadrant Books
eISBN 978-1-937868-11-6
$4.99

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