Book Review – The Outrun

The Outrun
By Amy Liptrot

Conogate Books
Rating: *****

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.

The Outrun is a beautifully written memoir all about the power of mother nature and how it can help cure inner demons. Amy Liptrot grew up in Orkney, a small island north of Scotland, as a young woman she decides to leave this quiet life for the bright lights and big city of London. Here she creates a new life, but this new life comes with its woes, her drinking becomes steadily worse, she starts drinking heavily and alone, blacking out and loosing everything around her. She knows she must stop for her health, for her future, for her career and her relationships but she just can’t seem to.

Amy takes drastic measures and decides to move back home to Orkney, go cold turkey and live alone in a small cottage, Amy embraces all of natures elements, wind, rain, storms all the animals and creatures, birds and star gazing. The way Amy writes about her life and recovery on Orkney is poetic and breath taking. It made me want to pack a bag and move to Orkney myself even for a short time. 

It was amazing to read how much nature calmed her and helped her go through what she needed to go through. Being out in nature is always good for the mind, body and soul and Amy proves just that in her memoir. The longer she was on the island the more she wanted to learn the more things captivated her.

What I also loved about this book was the vast amount of information Amy gives you about the island, she mixes in all the old folklore, myths and legends from all sorts of things about the island, she is so knowledgeable about birds and nature just in general. I loved learning about all these things whilst reading about her journey.

The Outrun is a very honest, raw, emotional and beautiful journey of recovering from addiction. Amy is inspirational, brave and amazing, I loved reading about her journey and how she battled her inner demons by embracing the beauty and wonders of nature.

If you enjoy reading memoirs and reading about nature this book is a must read. But get ready to book your flight to Orkney, after reading this you will be so tempted to go and see the wonders there yourself. What memoirs do you enjoy reading? Can you recommend any others to me? Thanks for reading. Katie x

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