Monday, March 23, 2015
Jean Hegland's "Into The Forest"
I honestly am not even sure how to start this post. OK, let's start from the beginning. I found this book while browsing. I cant remember if I was browsing Goodreads or while browsing Amazon but either way, I was very much swept up in the description of this book and wanted to read it ASAP. As always I checked my library website first. Let's face it, if I bought every book I read I would be broke and my hubby and kids would be starving and probably homeless.
My library didn't have this book, but my library is AMAZING!!! They have a program called "Interlibrary Loan". Basically, if they don't have the book I am looking for they allow me to connect with a worldwide database of other libraries that are a part of the Interlibrary Loan program to possibly borrow this book from another library. I submit a request and state whether or not I am willing to pay a fee (usually I will put I will pay up to $3 for it) and they ask on my behalf to borrow it from another library. I get a few denials every now and then- either the other libraries say no or the fee is outrageous and it's easier and less expensive just to buy it myself. The farthest library I have ever borrow a book was some library in the UK. Pretty cool! This book I borrow from Kansas State University (go Wildcats)! I was totally prepared to buy this as an eBook because it looked so good and the reviews were amazing! Plus I got around $100 in Amazon gift cards for Christmas so of course I am going to spend them on books! I am really glad I didn't buy this book though. I know a few friends have added this to their "to-read" list. This review has spoilers so read at your own discretion.
This book is set in a post-apocalyptic world somewhere in the remote mountains of California. The main characters are two teenage sisters, One likes to dance, while the other likes to study and read. Their parents died, one just before the apocalypse, the other a bit after. So they are left on their own. I was about half way through the book before I realized that nothing has really happened. They are in denial that the world has changed. I could appreciate that the author placed them in such a remote setting that it was easy for them to not fully grasp what was going on in the world around them. For the first 100 pages or so I LOVED the story and they description of the breakdown of the country. Very realistic.
The two sister just didn't relate to me. They were weird. I get that they were home-schooled and raised by parents who taught them to be self sufficient, but they were so naive and quite frankly, stupid. One does nothing but dance ballet in her makeshift studio to a metronome (because there is no electricity for music-duh) while the other reads the encyclopedias all day long because the country broke down before she could be accepted to Harvard and she is sure any day the world will return to normal and she can go to college. Boring. So boring. Finishing teen years on an isolated, remote mountain homestead with no parents in a post apocalyptic world has all the makings of a great plot, but no. The girls are alone with each other for most of the book and while this book has all the makings for emotional intensity I found their emotions (or lack there of) to just be basic. Think a junior high or high school essay. Like it was written by a preteen/teen who couldn't fully grasp the emotions and the emotional finale to certain situations.
The fact that the sisters went from being clueless on having to survive on dwindling supplies and a falling down house, to being super survivors in the wilderness with only the knowledge they found in plant identification book was simply silly. The decision to burn their house down to live in the woods was mind blowing. The ballet sister gets raped (sad, I know) and goes into an understandable shock. However, the way to get over it is to have incestuous lesbian sex with her sister??? What the hell!? So many parts of this book just didn't make sense. The fact that it is written like the 17 year old's journal got old pretty quick also.
I could go on and on about why this book was a fail for me. But I won't. If you are still interested in reading it you can find it at your library or even here on Amazon. I gave this book 2 stars because I really did love the back story on how the world ended. I also did like certain parts of the book on how the sister's kept up with life without electricity, phones, and certain every day supplies. The dad was also hilarious (he is in memory stories throughout the book). So read at your own risk. Maybe you will end up loving it! Happy Reading!