What Made Maddy Run

  • by Kate Fagan
  • Narrated by Kate Fagan
  • 7 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From noted ESPN commentator and journalist Kate Fagan, the heartbreaking and vital story of college athlete Madison Holleran, whose death by suicide rocked the University of Pennsylvania campus and whose life reveals with haunting detail and uncommon understanding the struggle of young people suffering from mental illness today.
If you scrolled through the Instagram feed of 19-year-old Maddy Holleran, you would see a perfect life: a freshman at an Ivy League school, recruited for the track team, who was also beautiful, popular, and fiercely intelligent. This was a girl who succeeded at everything she tried and who was only getting started.
But when Maddy began her long-awaited college career, her parents noticed something changed. Previously indefatigable Maddy became withdrawn, and her thoughts centered on how she could change her life. In spite of thousands of hours of practice and study, she contemplated transferring from the school that had once been her dream. When Maddy's dad, Jim, dropped her off for the first day of spring semester, she held him a second longer than usual. That would be the last time Jim would see his daughter.
What Made Maddy Run began as a piece that Kate Fagan, a columnist for espnW, wrote about Maddy's life. What started as a profile of a successful young athlete whose life ended in suicide became so much larger when Fagan started to hear from other college athletes also struggling with mental illness. This is the story of Maddy Holleran's life and her struggle with depression, which also reveals the mounting pressures young people, and college athletes in particular, face to be perfect, especially in an age of relentless connectivity and social media saturation.


What the Critics Say

"It is impossible not to be affected by Holleran's heart-wrenching story. An appropriate (if difficult) read for current and future college athletes, their coaches, and parents." (Library Journal)
"A compassionate and frank look at depression and the social pressure faced by many college students as seen through the eyes of one young woman." (Kirkus)
"Fagan's book is well-researched and the message is timely and important." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Left me feeling devastated

Suicide happens daily, it's not unusual. What is unique about this story is that Madison seemingly had it all. She was gorgeous and very talented in soccer & track. She had a solid and loving family who cared for her deeply. She had an amazing personality that attracted many friends and made her peers look up to her. She was intelligent and thoughtful and had the respect of her community & the colleges that recruited her. Unfortunately she had depression that she could not deal with and felt that there was no possible solution for it. The story was told so well that I felt like I knew Madison and the people that she was important to. I am just so sad that her life could not be saved and that she felt like it wasn't worth saving. I thought the narrator was perfect for this story and did an excellent job with some difficult dialog along the way.
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- Matthew Coppins

What Makes Mandy Run

An extremely powerful and touching story that is a must read for college administrators, advisers, orientation leaders, resident assistants, Dean of Students, coaches, and parents. As an Emeritus Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at a major, public university, I conducted 11 years of orientation sessions for parents, freshmen, and transfers. After reading about Maddy, I would have given a slightly different presentation to address the transitional issues of the highly successful student.

I will recommend this book to our campus administrators. Thank you for capturing the very brief life of this young woman. May she find her "true self" in heaven and perhaps be playing a pickup game of soccer.
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- Randi McKenzie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-01-2017
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio