"...this extraordinary first novel about the blood ties that bind fathers and sons packs such emotional power that reading it is like sustaining repeated blows to the heart. And, appropriately, for a novel about voices, the first-person voice of the narrator Levi is exquisitely and unforgettably rendered as the boy recounts his search for self and the redemption of silence."
from Booklist, starred review
"Shepherd writes beautifully about labor...what work takes and what work gives are joyously rendered in his book. Far from being romanticized, labor is sanded down to its essentials: found, frame, finish...the reader is greatly rewarded. How refreshing to come across a book that raises such questions in an honest manner and refuses to make easy judgments or simple conclusions. "More Like Not Running Away" reminds us that -- no matter how hard you try -- gaps cannot always be made flush."
from San Francisco Chronicle
"This impressive debut novel resembles Marilynne Robinson's Gilead with its masterful characterization, narrative economy, finely tuned prose and attention to the inner contours of spiritual dilemmas. But in its approach to the father-son theme, Shepherd's novel is completely and fascinatingly opposite Gilead, almost like a photographic negative."
from Christian Century
"...Shepherd has successfully managed to capture the true voice of his adolescent protagonist and narrator, Levi Revel, much as J.D. Salinger did with Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye...This emotional novel is about the realization that sometimes, you can't fix everything. Despite its brevity, Shepherd succeeds in writing a lifetime of emotion into each character, especially his young
narrator. A noteworthy addition to the annals of contemporary literature;
recommended for all academic and public libraries."
from Library Journal
"...Shepherd's family-in-decline frames an impressive character study."
from Publisher's Weekly
"...something that cannot be explained but will not let you put this book down. More Like Not Running Away is an intense, complex read." Recommended selection from Curled Up with a Good Book
"a masterpiece, realistic, moving--an experience in itself." five star review, Princeton Public Library's Booklover's Wiki
"I had the sense of walking down a path in the company of a wild animal I had somehow been lulled into thinking was harmless and tame, with no premonition that it would soon enough consume me. Shepherd is a master craftsman, and the subtlety of his art, the unassuming elegance of its architecture, rendered me spellbound and finally grateful. I don't think I shall ever forget this fine book, its honest, guileless voice leading me along into the fire."
Bob Shacochis, winner National Book Award
"A riveting exploration of what it is to be an outsider, even in your own head. Shepherd has written a gripping story of childhood angst--psychologically thrilling, lyrically exact."
Janet Burroway, author of Writing Fiction, the best-selling
fiction textbook in the US
"... a haunting novel. The story unfolds in the oral, ventriloquial tradition (as in Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill a Mockingbird), a recounting the narrator has rehearsed so many times on his tongue it has the feel of a legend .... This book brims with the poetry of the working class, the seldom sung lyrics of working men and women...."
Larry Woiwode, from his introduction
"I don't know when I've felt more deeply for a cast of characters.
In fact, it seems wrong to call them characters at all, because they are so
fully formed, so true. I'm sure that I will carry them with me -- their anger
and tenderness, their lonesomeness and joy, their insanity and hope -- all
my days. More Like Not Running Away has all the markings of a classic."
Julianna Baggott, best-selling author of Girl Talk