The Outrun - Amy Liptrot

I grew up in some extremes and later sought them for myself, unconsciously emulating unremembered experiences. Now, I still pursue heightened states but do so with greater self-knowledge. I want to have a story but I have to do it sober.

I’m intrigued to see what my library book club will make of this book. I enjoyed it, but not unreservedly.

The Outrun is a memoir of recovery from addiction. It meanders from topic to topic as the author records her thoughts and experiences while recovering from alcohol addiction and moving from the hustle and bustle of London back to Orkney, where she grew up.

What I loved about the book was the author’s frankness about her addiction and how it dictated her life, to the point of seizures and being attacked after drinking herself into a stupor; how the addiction to alcohol impacted on her relationship with other people, day-to-day life, her family, and herself. Much of this memoir was about the author’s very own addiction but it also went to explore some other facets, such as a link between addiction and mental illness. And all of this was packaged within the setting of the Orkney Islands, which just made me want to revisit the place.

Nonetheless, the book did not quite impress me: As interesting as the memoir was, the repeated mantras that resulted from the author’s introspection did become a little bit repetitive and after a while I had hoped for some more insight into her own processes, or even some more insight, based on additional research, on addiction.

This didn’t happen.

Also, while the tangents into the history, wildlife, customs, and general life in the islands were fascinating, these were very superficial, and most of the topics that the author picked to delve into were interesting enough to flesh out more. As it was, much of the chapters ended up as teasers only.


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