review

Outrun by Amy Liptrot

I am sorry I can’t remember where I got this book from. It must’ve been a prize or something to do with the Ninja Book Box I feel so guilty. This is how out of control my books are! I was drawn to the idea of this story  it seemed an inspiring read reminiscent of Wild or The Salt Path.

 

The Outrun

Synopsis from GoodReads

When Amy Liptrot returns to Orkney after more than a decade away, she is drawn back to the Outrun on the sheep farm where she grew up. Approaching the land that was once home, memories of her childhood merge with the recent events that have set her on this journey.

Amy was shaped by the cycle of the seasons, birth and death on the farm, and her father’s mental illness, which were as much a part of her childhood as the wild, carefree existence on Orkney. But as she grew up, she longed to leave this remote life. She moved to London and found herself in a hedonistic cycle. Unable to control her drinking, alcohol gradually took over. Now thirty, she finds herself washed up back home on Orkney, standing unstable at the cliff edge, trying to come to terms with what happened to her in London.

Spending early mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, the days tracking Orkney’s wildlife – puffins nesting on sea stacks, arctic terns swooping close enough to feel their wings – and nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy slowly makes the journey towards recovery from addiction.

The Outrun is a beautiful, inspiring book about living on the edge, about the pull between island and city, and about the ability of the sea, the land, the wind and the moon to restore life and renew hope.”

My Thoughts

At the beginning of the story, Amy tells us of her problem with alcohol and the mistakes she made. It’s a frank and honest account that appears to hold nothing back and she tells us how she finally got on a recovery program. I felt sympathetic towards her and I did enjoy reading this part of the book.

In the second part of the book she goes home to the Orkneys to find her way again and continue to beat her addiction. I loved the setting and atmosphere but it was here that the book started to get dull. And it pretty much ended up swaying my opinion of the book. There were a lot of facts which can be interesting but it changed the tone of the story. It started to feel more like a guide book or a report, I wondered if she’d copied and pasted from a text book sometimes but I doubt she did. It was just too much and the narrative timeline became confusing.

In the start of the book she mentions working on an oil rig and feeling so bad that she knew she had to leave, the story goes back to explain her alcohol addiction but never returns to that moment. And in the second part of the book when she’s back in Scotland she is still telling old anecdotes from the times she was in the recovery program or from her days when she was still drinking, which made the timeline very confusing and repetitive.

The style started off very lyrical in the beginning but became very report like in the second part,  with sentences starting with “one morning” “one Sunday” or “on a Monday morning” and “On a windy day” it felt like the narrative wasn’t going anywhere and this was just filler.

I was disappointed.  It wasn’t the book I expected. It was interesting at times but it felt like it could’ve been shorter and I’m wondering if the facts and info were just padding. These are just my opinions and maybe some one who can relate to her situation might get more from this book? But I don’t feel that it was inspirational to me. We can’t all go live on an island and what happened next? You never find out what happened next, the story just ends.  I wanted to know if the feeling she had was just a holiday feeling and how she managed later, when she went back to her normal life.
The critical reviews on the cover say  how good the book is and but it is repetitive and dull. You expect a memoir to be all about her but it got very repetitive and self indulgent. Nothing really happens. I got nothing from this book. I mention The Salt Path and Wild, I loved those books, I couldn’t relate exactly to the situations those people were in but I felt every moment and enjoyed their journey. This book isn’t so much a journey but a memoir about alcoholism and mostly a report. Very disapointing, especially because the other reviews on GoodReads were great.

Have you read this book?

 

4 thoughts on “Outrun by Amy Liptrot”

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