BOOK REVIEW: A Beautiful Work In Progress by Mirna Valerio

Title: A Beautiful Work in Progress
Author: Mirna Valerio
Publication: October 1, 2017
Publisher: Grand Harbor Press
Genre: Non-Fiction, Health, Wellness
Pages: 336

SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

Runners’ vocabulary is full of acronyms like DNS for “Did Not Start” and DNF for “Did Not Finish,” but when Mirna Valerio stepped up to the starting line, she needed a new one: DNQ for “Did Not Quit.”

Valerio has tied on her running shoes all across the country, from the dusty back roads of central New Jersey to the busy Route 222 corridor in Pennsylvania to the sweltering deserts of Arizona. When you meet her on the trail, you might be surprised to see she doesn’t quite fit the typical image of a long-distance runner. She’s neither skinny nor white, and she’s here to show just how misguided these stereotypes can be.

In this prejudice-busting, body-positive memoir told with raw honesty, an adventurous spirit, and a sharp sense of humor, Valerio takes readers along on her journey from first-time racer to ultramarathoner and proves that anyone can become a successful athlete.


If I am honest I am not sure why I wanted to read this book.  Maybe because it was free or maybe it was because of the title: Beautiful Work in Progress.  Either way, I am super duper glad that I got it.  It did take me a while to read, however.   I started it in April and finally finished it a few days ago.  But once I picked it back up again I read it in like 3 days. 

Mirna had always been the nerdy girl in her class.  The one that had her nose shoved in the book at any given time. She had been big for her age when she was in school.  When she was in high school she joined the field hockey team.  That is when she first fell in love with running.  Granted, it wasn’t a love at first sight type thing.  But it happened none the less.  As her life moved on she kept herself in constant motion.  School, working, internships, dating, marriage and eventually a child.  She gained weight and it wasn’t until she was driving home one night with her young son sleeping in the back of the car that she began to have horrible chest pains.  She started to breath heavy and have stabbing pain.  She pulled over to calm herself down.  She somehow managed to drive herself home and get a friend to drive her to the ER.  She didn’t have a heart attack but the Doctor said that she had, in fact, had an anxiety attack.  She didn’t believe him.  She has her life together.  It wasn’t until she went to the Cardiologist and he laid it all out for her:  Change her life or her son would be left without a mother.  That meant cutting back on eating all the things that she could get hands-on and getting more exercise.  So she set off to do that.  In the first year alone she dropped her weight from roughly 300 to 240 pounds.  She also took up running and cross training.  She begins to run marathons and ultras.  She has fallen in love with running once again.

The book was exactly the body positive book that I needed.  The author is an active woman. She runs daily and runs long distances.  Yet she is still 240 pounds and isn’t losing more weight. She is a model for Merrell shoes and modeled for another well-known company. She has accepted her body for how it is and loves it no matter what.  It might not let her do it fast, it may not let her get first place but it allows her to run and finish the races in the time that she has set for herself.  This book showed me that I am a beautiful work in progress. I may not be the slim trim person that I was before I had three children.  I showed me that I need to make my health and taking care of myself a top priority. I would recommend this book to anyone who needs to realize they are a beautiful work in progress and that they are important.


You can get a copy of A Beautiful Work in Progress by Mirna Valerio on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and a book store near you. Make sure you add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. Stay tuned for more from author Mirna Valerio following this release of her debut novel.

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