Mark Matthews's Reviews > Out and Back

Out and Back by Diane Strong
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's review
Jul 24, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: to-read

Out and Back is the story of how a mother, runner, and uniquely gifted and wonderfully flawed human being deals with the death of her mother, and how, even after her mothers death, she is constantly working through their relationship.

This novel fell into my lap at a time when I was dealing with the death of a loved one, and was also in the throes of marathon training, so it spoke directly to my life circumstances and so my read was done in a unique mindframe. I am very glad it came into my life when it did.

Out and Back was very readable, easily accessible, doesn’t require work but just keeps your attention and interest since if you’re a parent or a runner you can relate. I loved the main character, who I assume is partially but not completely the author. I loved how she was aware of her flaws, how she had such high expectations of herself yet also swore (love the 'fuck fuck fucks') and scolded herself when she didn’t meet her own standards. She seemed so real, and the challenges of raising a family were portrayed with a sense of urgency amongst the very real threats we face.

And, when possible, the main character runs to cope and give her strength, yet is challenged to fit in a run when injuries and other annoyances get in her way. Yes, I did hope for more running in the novel, much like in my own life.

The conflicts and suspense of this novel to build a healthy family while fighting economic uncertainties, bickering kids, running injuries, kept me reading. I loved that she was constantly trying to negotiate family relationships by dealing with all the human imperfections we have and ultimately finding some peace by accepting her mother, and herself, for all her faults. Relationships with others don’t change when they pass. This novel showed that.
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