Genre: Non-fiction; Memoir; Addiction & Mental Illness
Size: 304 pages
Availability: Paperback, Ebook
Released July 2013 in the UK, and October 2013 overseas.
Suzanne Harrington did all the thing that adults do, long before she’d grown up: met Leo, married, had babies. She also partied, was homeless for a while, and drank—and drank. She headed toward disintegration, with Leo at her side, locked deep in himself. Then, waking to the wreckage of yet another lost weekend, she stopped drinking—and Leo, her companion and enabler, became a stranger. They separated. Newly sober, and freed from her demons, Suzanne embraced life. Leo chose escape. Early one morning the police arrived. A body had been found hanging from a tree. When it was all over, and Suzanne had buried Leo, and helped her children to grieve, she sat down and wrote the story of their father’s life. This is for them. It is for the memory of Leo. It is also for anyone who has partied too hard, found life unbearable, or avoided the truth. It is touching, hilarious, brutally honest, and utterly compelling.
The Liberty Tree was a bit of a risk for me as I hadn’t read a memoir before and usually stick to the fantastical or humorous, yet I took the risk and accepted this memoir about the relationship between an alcoholic and the husband she’s not entirely sure she’s in love with.. and do you know what? I loved it. It was completely outside of my comfort zone and I could hardly put it down.
Once I’d finished reading The Liberty Tree, I noticed that I was the only person who had added this book to my Goodreads so of course I had to fix this and proceeded to recommend it to as many of my friends who I thought might possibly enjoy reading it as I could, and if I missed you: I recommend this book. Here’s why.
If you enjoy the kind of writing that draws you in and makes you feel as though you know the people you’re reading about deeply, you will love The Liberty Tree. And it’s not a misery-fest either, as much as you might expect from the blurb. Suzanne has written this memoir to her children to tell them what their dad was like before they came along and I think this has a lot to do with the charm of this book, but don’t think that this is a memoir for children either. This is a book about the paranoia and behaviour caused by drug taking and hard partying, about alcohol abuse, and fundamentally about suicide and how it turns your life upside-down. The way Suzanne describes this portion of her life absolutely blew me away.
I found myself utterly swept up by the narrative only to find a couple of hours had passed. I’ve learned a lot about addiction, the effect of drugs, and how easy it is to miss something so huge. And I genuinely enjoyed reading about Suzanne and Leo’s relationship. Keep your eye out for this one. I’m off to find more memoirs.
I was supplied with a free copy for review from The Book Depository affiliate programme and you can pre-order The Liberty Tree at this link on The Book Depository’s website.