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Everything is Beautiful and Everything Hurts - Josie Shapiro

Everything is Beautiful and Everything Hurts

By: Josie Shapiro

Paperback | 16 May 2023

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The stunning debut novel by the winner of the Allen & Unwin Commercial Fiction Prize. If you loved Lessons in Chemistry and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, you will adore Everything is Beautiful and Everything Hurts.

'Everything is Beautiful and Everything Hurts plunges the reader into the gruelling world of the long distance runner — every pleasure, every pain. Shapiro deftly weaves the coming-of-age story of Mickey Bloom into a gripping account of adult Bloom running the Auckland Marathon. This is compelling storytelling that exposes the sacrifices — physical and emotional — demanded of our sporting elite. Chilling, yet ultimately heartwarming, it celebrates success without flinching from staring down its brutal costs. A sophisticated debut that will capture the racing hearts of its readers.' - Sue Orr, Loop Tracks

'Josie Shapiro's accomplished debut novel has the compulsive forward motion of a world-class race. You don't have to be a runner to get the high, just read this book!" - Kirsten McDougall, She's a Killer

Mickey Bloom: five foot tall, dyslexic, and bullied at school. Mickey knows she's nothing special. Until one day, she discovers running.

Mickey's new-found talent makes her realise she's everything she thought she wasn't – powerful, strong and special. But her success comes at a cost, and the relentless training and pressure to win leaves Mickey broken, her dream in tatters.

Years later, when Mickey is working in a dead-end job with a drop-kick boyfriend, her mother becomes seriously ill. After nursing her, Mickey realises the only way she can overcome her grief – and find herself – is to run again.

A chance encounter with a stranger sees Mickey re-ignite her dreams. The two women form an unbreakable bond, as Mickey is shown what it means to run in the right direction.

An unforgettable debut novel about change, family and grit, and what it takes to achieve your dreams.

About the Author

Josie Shapiro has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Auckland, where she was awarded a Wallace Arts Scholarship for her work.

Her writing has appeared in journals and anthologies, and she writes book reviews for New Zealand Listener, the Academy of New Zealand Literature and Ketebooks.co.nz.

She lives with her husband and two daughters in T?maki Makaurau Auckland.
Industry Reviews
From the French publisher:

'It is both a portrait of an athlete subjected to the male gaze for whom only the result counts, an account of a domination that could be followed by acts of sexual aggression, and a magnificent description of what it really means to run a marathon, in the overcoming of pain, in the terrible effort demanded, in the pleasure one derives from it ...


'This is THE novel that allows us to understand this very special sport. We were caught up in the beauty of this text about a young sportswoman, who runs without us knowing whether she is running or chasing something, but who feels she exists in this effort. It quite simply fascinated us.'
- Constance Trapenard, Editions JC Lattes


Mickey Bloom is a loner - shy, dyslexic, awkward, with a life full of insults and regrets - until she discovers running which turns out to be the one thing that she can do, and ultimately it saves her. As an avowed non runner, it's remarkable that I loved this as much as I did, which is a testimony to the power and quality of the writing, which won the inaugural Allen and Unwin Commercial Fiction prize. Mickey Bloom stole my heart and this is truly a book to love. - Joan's Picks, Whitcoulls


Everything is Beautiful and Everything Hurts is a rollercoaster, heart-in-the-mouth read that deposits you in the pain, ache and joy of both running and living. Mickey Bloom is a memorable character that will get under your skin, with her doubts and her struggles, her recognitions and her learning leaps. This book will linger with me for a long time. - Paula Green, Kete Books


The journey of underdog competitive runner Mickey Bloom is one of ambition and catastrophe before it comes sweet with recovery and growth. In this commercially appealing, carefully held book, the author is doing something subversive. I clung to this story in a way that both surprised and, at the risk of sounding schmaltzy, healed me. - Claire Mabey, The Spinoff


In a culture that screams 'reach your highs' and 'go big or go home' mantras, author Josie brings a sporting narrative steeped in reality, but also Mickey's character rebuilds with tenacity to find a calm new strength. - Sue Reid, Mrs Blackwell's Village Bookshop, Book Reviews


The thrill of training to run fast, as well as the pain, are beautifully described throughout, and illustrate the strength of mind it takes to tackle many difficult things, not just running. - Louise Ward, Napier Courier

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