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Carry On: Two Young Men, a Journalist Who Wouldn't Walk Away, and the Creation of an Unlikely Family

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  627 ratings  ·  121 reviews
In the spirit of The Blind Side and Friday Night Lights comes a tender and profoundly moving memoir about an ESPN producer’s unexpected relationship with two disabled African-American wrestlers from inner-city Cleveland, and how these bonds—blossoming, ultimately, into a most unorthodox family—would transform their lives.

When award-winning ESPN producer Lisa Fenn returned
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 16th 2016 by Harper Wave
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Average rating 4.54  · 
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 ·  627 ratings  ·  121 reviews

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Start your review of Carry On: Two Young Men, a Journalist Who Wouldn't Walk Away, and the Creation of an Unlikely Family
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while, I read a book that affects me so deeply, when I finish the book I feel the need to run and tell everyone I see "You must read this book!" Lisa Fenn's Carry On is one such book.

Fenn grew up in Cleveland, and became a producer for ESPN. On a visit home, her father showed her a newspaper story about two high school wrestlers from a high school in a poor section of the city. One of the young men was blind, the other had lost his legs in a tragic train accident.

She became intri
Mark Simon
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This will almost certainly be the best book I read this year. I knew Lisa peripherally during her time at ESPN (I think she worked on one project on which I was involved) but saw many of her features on SportsCenter and realized she was a great storyteller. This book tells the best story of them all, and it's an interesting one in that the journalist originally documenting the story, becomes part of the story.

Carry On is the story of the intersection of the lives of two high school wrestlers liv
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This story is incredible. But what an amazing story always needs is a worthy storyteller. Lisa is that and much much more. She is the reason the boys in this book have a story worth telling. And not only that, her writing is so vivid that many times while reading this book I had to catch myself from telling my friends, "Hey, I just watched a really great movie last night" realizing I had only been reading.

I recommend this book to everyone. Regardless of who you are or where you come from, wheth
Bethany Reese
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m not generally an emotional person, but this book touched me so deeply that I cried nearly every chapter. I highly encourage anyone who has a heart to read this book. I had a slow start with it being focused on 2 wrestlers, since I’m not really a sports person, but I quickly realized that had very little to do with what Carry On is actually about. Get ready to be touched, inspired, and wanting to rise up and do something with what you have been given.
Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lisa Fenn's Carry On is a wonderful, moving book that tells the true story of two young men who show resiliency, respect, love of sport, and love of each other. Fenn, a journalist for ESPN grew up in Cleveland. Her father brought to her attention the story of these two high school wrestlers. Both are disabled -- one blind and the other lost his legs in a train accident as a boy. They are poor. In fact, the boys must share used shoes because they cannot afford them.

And yet, they wrestle. And more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh I loved this book!! I cried so many times!! Like 5 times before I even got to page 40!!
I came to this book for the wrestling. But this book is so much more. Oh, these boys and their story!
The beautiful prose of the writer, the honesty, the inspiration. Just when it seemed like Fenn was going to get all preachy and trite, she would pivot slightly and turn it into something unique and universal. Lisa's candor about her naivety about poverty is so refreshing and instrumental. She takes a second
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club-worthy
A compelling read. I was not only drawn into the story of the two teens facing incredible disabilities and extreme poverty and dysfunctional families, but learned so much about the cycle of poverty. Really made me think about the skills many take for granted that actually learned and missing for those caught in nearly hopeless situations. Overcoming is to be admired and celebrated.

My daughter-in-law recommended this book. She read this last fall and said it was the most inspiring book she had ev
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books
I loved this book from start to finish, immediately goes on my list of favorite memoirs. I can’t do justice to this story with my words, so I will just beg everyone I know to read it. Fenn moves from reporter to ally to friend to mother to these boys. I listened to the audio and despite her training as a journalist, you can hear her pride, sorrow, joy, and love come through.
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this-beautiful story.
Maggie Young
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Best book I’ve read this year. Couldn’t put it down and thought a lot about it after reading it.
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If this book doesn't move you, you might want to check your pulse. I don't believe I've shed so many tears over a book before this one, and for so many reasons. There is tragedy, comedy and triumph. It has all the makings of an unforgettable sports story but sports is merely a vehicle to tell this story.

It begins in Cleveland (and how I didn't know about this story sooner is beyond me), when Lisa Fenn's father sees an article in the local newspaper, The Plain Dealer, about two wrestlers at Linco
Katie Krombein
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It was a little hard for me to get into it because it's a journalistic style, but it is a truly compelling and honest story and peek into their lives. Real people, real lives, real work of change and relationship.

p. 71: Wolverines Prayer: We pray not for easier lives but to be stronger men. Robinson said he experienced God's presence most profoundly when he was with his team. "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them," the scripture from Matthew reads. He spent every practi
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! A true story about a young woman who helped 2 underprivileged disabled youths in the Cleveland area while working at ESPN! This only scratches the surface! Do yourself a this book! The author, Lisa Fenn, came to our book group and she probably would come to yours!! She is a beautiful writer and a wonderful engaging person. You won’t believe the obstacles these young men overcame and what they achieved with her love and support!
Amanda Gilles
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
It grabbed my attention since it is based in Cleveland my hometown and I love the movie/story "The Blind Side" I was intrigued to read it. It was a selection for my teacher's book club at school so it also was not a book I found on my own. Overall the story was one of true underdogs but I am not sure it needed 300 pages to tell the story. At times it was also frustrating watching the two lead men mess up over and over and the author who seemed to be the fairy god mother. The boys may have gotten ...more
Leigh Hurd
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I don't even think I can give this justice in a review. Could be one of the most moving and thought provoking stories I've ever read. I know it's a story I will not forget for a long time. It's hard to imagine what a different path these lives might have taken had it not been for crossing paths with Lisa. Such a raw narrative on the cycle of poverty and how challenging it is to overcome - for even those without any physical deficits. How far these boys have come is so amazing. Definitely a ...more
Mar 23, 2017 added it
Shelves: book-group
I didn't expect to like it--and the copy-editing errors and tired sports cliches did not help. But the story-telling is compelling, and as I started to realize that the biggest problems--the "white savior" issue and the author's naivete and trite Christian answers--were part of the narrative, I was able to appreciate it a bit more. I suspect that real life is not as neatly tied up in a bow as the book suggests, and "inspirational" is still not my preferred genre, but I am glad to know more of th ...more
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2017
I would give this book more than 5 stars if I could. I cried so much reading it, and I don't do that as a rule. The kids in this story are amazing not just because of what they were able to do regardless of their disabilities, but also because they were kind and loving despite the hardships they suffered.
Read this book, then watch their documentaries on YouTube. If you can do both without crying you are a stronger person than me.
Gering Public Library
Review by Sherry Preston

Carry On by Lisa Fenn is the story of two friends, Dartanyon Crockett who is legally blind, although he does have limited vision, and Leroy Sutton who lost his legs in a train accident. They wrestled for a high school in Cleveland when ESPN producer Lisa Fenn heard about them. Fenn was struck by these athletes: “The one with no legs, being carried by the one who could not see.”

Fenn spent several weeks filming and interviewing the two inner city boys about their friendship
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This novel was deeply affecting. It was, on the surface, a story of a friendship of two young black high school wrestlers. One was blind and depended upon his friend to direct him as to where to go; his friend, lacking legs (severed in a train accident when he was a young child), rode on his back everywhere they went. An award winning producer from ESPN was notified about this unusual circumstance quite by mistake when her father heard about these two in the local Ohio newspaper. She became invo ...more
Robin McCann
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book has a strong Christian theme and our family is not Christian. (I feel this is important to understand while reading my review as it may influence my perspective) I read it due to my daughter’s public school summer reading. I love the idea of a book that teaches about poverty with disabilities and minorities but this one was not a book I felt did it well. It was way too long. It was way to Christian for a pubic school required reading. And I found it way too slow. Although it went over ...more
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
What a joy. The story and the storyteller are superb. Lisa Fenn wonderfully sheds a light on many of the issues within systemic poverty. Dartanyon and Leroy are kind young men that have just about every obstacle in their path. But, with the help of Fenn and the kindness of others, they manage to succeed above and beyond their wildest dreams. Fenn is a masterful storyteller, and she is vulnerable about her own journey with reconciling her white privilege as she tells the young men's stories. If y ...more
Robert Cox
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Listen. No one wants to be the guy that sits there and says the feel good story of the year, which made a pretty good new blurb and short human interest piece, doesn't live up to the hype. But here I am, ready to tell the world. Meh, it wasn't bad. Not great. Not bad. It is the Laffy Taffy or Baby Ruth of trick-or-treating candy. Its not candy corn (vying for the crown of worst candy to live on into the 21st century) but it certainly isn't the king sized Milky Way that the rich people down the s ...more
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To call this story inspirational doesn't do Dartanyon and Leroy or their story justice. Their spirit of determination and positivity would be remarkable in most people, but is exceptional for their circumstances. Lisa Fenn's devotion to not only these boys, but also the better angels in all of us shines through in her writing. Her courage is no small part of the story, but she maintains the focus on Dartanyon and Leroy, and their struggles to navigate life once survival is not their only objecti ...more
Now this book. It will tear at your heart and make you cry. I do not often cry at books, but this one is impossible to read its entirety without tears. What is more heart-rendering is that these two boys are only two. There are so many other kids, teens, and adults that have left to languish in poverty and then carry on the tradition through the generations. How can we stop that? This book shows one answer that transformed several lives. Can it carry on to fix a town, city, or this nation? I don ...more
Elizabeth Joven
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this!

Not only was the story of brotherhood heartwarming but it was so important that Lisa was able to acknowledge her privilege. There was so much she was open to learning and it took her quite a while to get a better understanding of poverty. The truth is that we often turn a blind eye to the smaller problems that poverty causes. A role model/support system and housing can create a ripple and make a world of difference.
I was nervous about how things would turn out with college because I
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an inspiring, remarkable story about 2 young men who had every reason to fail in life, but are managing to succeed, or at least move forward inspite of their past. Lisa Fenn does a remarkable job of telling the story.

A couple of frustrations with the book: Leroy and Dartanyon sabotage themselves so often. I realize this is the truth and it helped me understand why it is so hard for people to get out of poverty, but it is hard to keep reading. Also, Lisa spends a lot of time telling us h
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
there are many brilliant lines in this book but this is one of my favorite "my once reliable faith could not neatly fold and launder Leroy's history"
Lisa did an outstanding job capturing this process of meeting the poverty stricken disabled boys and how her journey grew with them. I think her honesty of her ignorance of the conditions of these boys lives made the book raw and inticing. at one point in the book I was just waiting for the happy ending but then we learned of all the challenges the
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Unexpected wonderful read - Carry On by Lisa Fenn. A book I can't stop myself from recommending and giving to the readers in my life and the new ones I meet.

The story is as much Lisa's as the boys, and well told. Fenn is very humble, her understated way is so real and relatable, no celebrity here - even though she works for ESPN. I kept asking myself, could I do what she did? (No). There are lessons learned on both sides, and moments when I cried. I think of it often.

Wait to watch her ESPN doc
Gail Donlon
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Carry On" should be the next book you read. After listening to my husband's praise of the book, its writing, the inspiring story, and what a remarkable woman the author, Lisa Fenn, must be I decided I should try to get through it. With the help of several tissues I read this most compelling story of Dartanyan and Leroy, two challenged teen wrestlers from Cleveland, and an unlikely village that raised them. More than anything this book helped me to better understand how overwhelming and hopeless ...more
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Lisa Fenn's feature work at ESPN earned three Edward R. Murrow Awards and six Emmy Awards over thirteen years. Today she is a sought-after public presenter, speaking on leadership, poverty, disability and adoption, in addition to her faith and its relevance in both her media career and her daily life. Lisa received her BS in communications from Cornell University. Her work has been featured on ESP ...more

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