[Thompson] eloquently captures the beauty of communing with nature in details runners will soak up, but the focus of this memoir is about a man who had suffered terribly with depression since childhood, and, in later years, overcame drug and alcohol addiction, but not before attempting suicide ... Although confusing at times, as Thompson jumps back and forth through past remembrances, this is a hopeful story of resilience by a man baring his vulnerability as a trauma survivor and who fought his demons, thanks in part to his experiences as an ultrarunner.
The Tahoe 200, broken up into increasingly exhausted stages, provides a framework for the narrative of his earlier, traumatized life. It’s a promising approach, but Thompson is coy about the details of what happened to him, interspersed in a nonlinear fashion. Sometimes that’s his only choice, since his memory is imperfect. Other times it feels like a deliberate vagueness, meant to tease us until he gets over the next ridge ... Ultimately the memoir, like the race itself, is an erratic slog ... Memoirs are by nature the stuff of self-indulgence. But that’s for the first and second drafts, not the one the reader receives.