Book review: Out of the Tunnel by Rachel North

The strapline on this books reads:
‘Before and after 7/7: one woman’s extraordinary story’

I have been reading Rachel’s blog for years, and in this small way I feel as though I know her – or feel as though I know something of her.

So when I picked up the book I thought it was going to be difficult to write a dispassionate, objective review.

It wasn’t, it was very easy.

And this is entirely due to Rachel’s relaxed style of writing, her easy narrative and how unafraid she is of facing deeply painful, personal horrors.

The situation surrounding her rape is awful, Rachel’s detachment is exemplary.

And then she is caught up in the 7th of July bombings on the London underground.

Rachel details the events and aftershocks of the two cataclysmic events; her rape and physical assault and the aftermath (both medical, investigative and legal) of the event that occurred when a stranger forced his way in to her flat…

And – is if that wasn’t enough – the event of and aftermath surrounding her involvement on the King’s Cross underground train explosion when it was blown up by Mohamed Siddique Khan on 7/7 (or 7th of July if you speak English rather than American) is very moving.

The author pieces together in a thoughtful, carefully considered manner ‘who-did-what’ (and sometimes ‘who-didn’t-do-what’), and goes six months beyond the bombings to a happier time in her life.

One sad aspect of Rachel’s tale lies outside the harrowing scenes.

The horrendously poor quality of life that she and J endure.

There are a number of examples that go to highlight how poor the quality of their work/life balance is, yet this fact is unremarked upon.

I hope Rachel’s emergence as an author acts as a catalyst for change in this area.

Out of the Tunnel is a well told story brought to us from a gifted, naturally talented writer.

But occasionally she tries just a little too hard and when she does it shows.

In places the book is in need of a bloody good edit – displaying slight signs of tiredness and being occasionally just a little metaphor-heavy.

However I put these minor niggles down to Rachel’s immaturity as a writer; I feel she is so talented that as she grows in to the role she will – as all authors must – become an even better story teller.

But it’s a worthwhile read – for the way Rachel deals with the events in her life and for the example she sets in the way she conducts herself (both as a victim of outrage and in the way she deals with governmental attitude).

Out of the Tunnel by Rachel North.

I look forward to reading many more of her works in the future.


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3 Responses to Book review: Out of the Tunnel by Rachel North

  1. Stratford Girl says:

    I haven’t read Rachel’s blog very much … but I think I’ll read her book after reading your review.

  2. Rachel says:

    Oh Brennig – thank you for the lovely review. And for putting it on amazon too. Very kind of you. I will link it in the sidebar