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  • Run Towards the Danger

  • Confrontations with a Body of Memory
  • Written by: Sarah Polley
  • Narrated by: Sarah Polley
  • Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (436 ratings)

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Run Towards the Danger

Written by: Sarah Polley
Narrated by: Sarah Polley
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Publisher's Summary

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER * WINNER OF THE 2022 TORONTO BOOK AWARDS * SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2023 KOBO EMERGING WRITER PRIZE * NOMINATED FOR THE 2023 HERITAGE TORONTO AWARDS * A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice * Named a Most-Anticipated Book of 2022 by Entertainment Weekly, Lit Hub, and AV Club

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

“[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

From the Academy Award-nominated director of
Women Talking, 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 of 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 you are now but were 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, Sarah 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 Hamish Hamilton

What the critics say

2022, Toronto Book Award, Long-listed

2022, Toronto Book Award, Winner

2022, Toronto Book Award, Short-listed

2023, Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, Short-listed

“Sarah Polley understands that questions of conscience are inseparable from the terrors and tenderness of the body, and that courage - moral or physical - is not fearlessness but our relationship to fear. How we confront pain, how we determine what is safe, how we comprehend the depth and limits of our responsibility to others and to ourselves - these are exacting, keening questions. This is a powerful and moving book, both in its seeking and its wisdom.” (Anne Michaels, Giller-shortlisted author of Fugitive Pieces and All We Saw)

“In Run Towards the Danger, Sarah Polley does just that. She tells us the truth, even when it feels razor sharp - even when it feels dangerous. She rips away at painful past experiences that she’s never shared before, and in this way emboldens us to sharpen our gaze on the shadowed moments in our own past, to understand their provenance and to bring meaning to them. She shows us how, by doing this, we can begin to move towards that specific peace of mind - you might even call it joy - that comes with confronting our demons and knowing ourselves. These brilliant essays (and Sarah Polley, with her melioristic heart and empathic eye) urge us, by example, towards the examined life, the life worth living, and give us a jolt of energy to muster the courage and compassion needed to live it.” (Miriam Toews, best-selling author of Women Talking and All My Puny Sorrows)

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What listeners say about Run Towards the Danger

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Amazing Book, Eye Opening

I knew very little about Sarah Polley aside from her CBC work. I heard an interview with her on Canadaland and became interested in her story. Her essays are amazing, and her strength and honesty while discussing the topics are beyond inspiring. Thank you Sarah.

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A journey of empathy

I teared up many times listening to Sarah’s memoir. Her insights, brave self-examination, questioning of memory and her growth are astonishing. Listening to her personal essays, I felt I knew myself better. I found so much I could relate to - as a mother, a woman working in a misogynistic industry, the anguish of women revealing sexual assault, and having dealt with concussion symptoms for years and the trials of breastfeeding. She covers a lot of ground, and had me riveted every second.

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resonating on unfathomable levels

Easy listening and well-written, deeply empathetic to the real troubles of trauma. A must-read. Positive outcomes. Insightful comments and wisdom beyond her years. Sarah Polley is a true inspiration to what it means to be a Canadian mother, actress, and talented writer. This isn't all she is but part of who she is, and the story she tells deeply resonated with me on levels I didn't think it was possible, considering I'm a male. I suffered a bad MVC in 2019 and still struggle with concussion issues and many other things. This book made me positively inspired. I hope it gives you the same great information I gathered. Honestly, I'm so thankful and so happy. I don't know if you'll ever read this. Sarah, thank you! Thank you so much! this book made things click for me, and I'm ready to move forward with my healing. I'd given up significantly over the covid period, where physiotherapy care and other care went out the window. I am humbled.

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3 people found this helpful

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an important read for folks working in film/TV

Sarah Polley crafted a surprising, insightful, and compulsive read. Very much a coming-of-age narrative, wrapped inside the self-examination of adulthood. An important piece to read for folks working in the film and television industry. Polley documents abuse on set and the life-altering impacts of being a child actor... but you don't need to know her career to find this read compelling. This book should attract readers interested in complex storytelling, nuanced perspectives, and a poetic femme energy - honed by years of cultural work and refined by psychoanalysis. At times, her stories were hard to listen to - but as the narrator, Polley guides you through with feeling and gentleness. Take a listen.

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Counterintuitive secret weapon for real life

I recommend this book more than anything I’ve read in several years... I take Sarah‘s words into daily life and smile everytime like I’ve got a secret weapon. Unfortunately, I relate in some way to every chapter. What matters though, is we are not unique. I hope people at crossroads, especially 20-30 somethings, healthcare workers, young parent, grandparents, and people with influence of all kinds find it. It’s an incredibly open, zero pretension invite to counterintuitive real life strength training. Thanks Sarah!

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Running towards the truths

Sarah Polley has shared her perspective of life- and tells it humbly from her own perspective. What I want her to know- is that many of us admire her strength and tenacity- her works are true. (Sarah if you ever see this- I remember you empowering me from Last Night and Go.)

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Highly recommend

My love for Sarah Polley deepens! I loved listening to this book. Personal, smart, enlightening + Canadian content. I will take "Run Towards the Danger" to heart

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Brilliant

So excellent! I loved every essay. Sarah Polley is so sensitive and articulate. A powerful storyteller.

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Balancing Fragility with Grit

I could deeply relate to your first book on so many levels. I am recovering from a Sept 5/23 severe concussion, and it was heartening to know my instinct since day 3 to push my limits each day balanced with “listening to my body” might just be contributing to my speedy recovery. In fact, I realize that despite my gentle nature, I have been “running towards the danger” my whole life, as have you Sarah. Thank you for showing us the way…please keep writing!

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Yawn

I wanted to love this as I’m a huge fan of Sarah’s work. However, parts of this book were painfully dull and I had to speed up the narration several times. She is a great storyteller, I’ll give her that.

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