The Liberty Tree: Drunk to Sober via Love, Death, Disintegration & Freedom by Suzanne Harrington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
'Suzanne Harrington did all the things 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 towards 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, avoided the truth. It is like nothing you have read before, or will read again. It is touching, hilarious, brutally honest and utterly compelling.'
This was sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This has been the first memoir I have read and I must say it's taken me completely out of my comfort zone. I was interested in this book for that reason. I am finding this really hard to review as this is someone's life and not made up, I feel like I'm judging it, something I don't feel comfortable with doing.
I was surprised with this read, I didn't think I was going to enjoy it; mainly because of the content, however I would say I was intrigued to continue reading to find answers along the way.
The Liberty Tree begins with description of finding a person hanging from a tree in a wood/forest, this I must say had me hooked right from the beginning. The narration of the book is by Suzanne, she is telling her and her husbands story to her kids, she states she wanted to tell his life. This is the only thing I think that does not ring true, it's mainly about her life and during the memoir I find you develop a feeling of dislike towards the woman, she comes across as uncaring and insensitive sometimes towards her husband Leo.
The story goes right back to the beginning when Suzanne met Leo and takes us on a journey of their lives together. I particularly enjoyed the sections of the book where they are travelling in India; I am a keen traveller myself and India is a place to visit high on my list, I felt that I joined them on their journey there and really enjoyed this part, I found out new things about India and beaches I didn't expect to be there. I thought this section in the book was written especially well.
Although I did enjoy it, I still maintain this was not a story about him; it was a story about her and her life. Throughout the memoir I also feel sympathy is wanted, this however I could not give; there was never a time when she accepted responsibility, there was always an excuse and someone/ something to blame.
I did feel I was reading someones diary at times and felt that I was always on the outside; somethings we never find out such as her children's names, even though there are references in the book to why they are named the way they are. I would have loved this book to have some photographs in of their travels as I feel it would have helped with the connection and made you feel not such an outsider.
Like I said I enjoyed aspects of the book, I think it being so far out my comfort zone is something I had to personally battle with, saying this it didn't take me long to finish the book I read it in two sittings.