A review of There Is No Wall by Allie Bailey (Vertebrate Publishing)
It's a brave thing, a bold thing, to write a book like this. I even feel slightly uncomfortable writing a review about it, openly admitting how much I identify with aspects of Allie's journey. I imagine many readers will be able draw parallels with their own lives. They don’t need to be with alcohol, addiction or even depression - but if you’re struggling, then this book will be a mirror and a wake-up call.
Despite its bleak subject matter, I actually found it a refreshing read. It’s frankly a relief to see something so unconventional. It's honest, it's brazen and at times heartbreaking. It is also grimly compelling - like driving past a car crash - you just have to know the outcome. I can honestly say that this is the first book I have read all the way through since having my eldest daughter in 2015 (and I read it in a day!) The book also comes with a playlist from Allie, with songs that fit each chapter or stage of her life. It’s an emotive personal touch that I really like, giving even greater insight into Allie’s mindset.
There Is No Wall plots Allie’s personal growth as she matures into a woman who has learned her self-worth the hard way. In an era of rapid progress in equality for women in sport, music and business, there may be many women who have chartered a similar trajectory, starting out in male-dominated industries, battling damaging relationships and mental health issues with limited support. As someone of a similar age, I found myself reflecting on my own life over the same time period – my mistakes, my regrets and how much I too have changed over the years. In that way, this book is an invitation to step-back and own it, and to give yourself a reprieve from self-loathing.
'If you allow your self-worth to be defined by anything other than the fact it's a given, you're skating on thin ice'
'Acceptance of everything has been key to me getting better - both in life and in running'
This is not a book about running (or not just about running) and it's no self-help book either - but I have no doubt it will achieve the same ends.
'If you are in that situation now, know that it does get better. But you have to make the changes to get there. And you can. You can choose to do that with your mind'
By the final chapter, I couldn’t help being struck by an unintentional irony. This confessional tale, with Allie’s darkest moments laid bare, had left me seriously in awe of her. For all her raw anxiety, self-depreciation and imposter syndrome, Allie Bailey is a spark that burns brightly throughout these dark pages - it’s clear that she is an exceptionally determined and talented woman. In other words, the reader will see what Allie could not!
This relatable story of how Allie found her way back from the edge will inspire many and could be a lifeline for those who are still teetering.
'Running will help you understand that you are enough. But let me be clear for the final time: running alone will not save you.'
If you're interested in reading There Is No Wall then use our exclusive code NOWALL25 for 25% off. Redeem this code at: https://bit.ly/3O1R0cr
Written by Keri Wallace