Book Review: Out of the Woods by Lynn Darling
January 20, 2014 7 Comments
From the publishers: “When her college-bound daughter leaves home, Lynn Darling, widowed over a decade earlier, finds herself alone—and utterly lost, with no idea of what she wants or even who she is. Searching for answers, she leaves New York for the solitary woods of Vermont. Removed from the familiar, cocooned in the natural world, her only companions a new dog and a compass, she hopes to develop a sense of direction—both in the woods and in her life.
Hiking unmapped trails, Darling meditates on the milestones of her past; as she adapts to her new surroundings, she uses the knowledge she’s gained to chart her future. And when an unexpected setback nearly derails her newfound balance, she is able to draw upon her newfound skills to find her bearings and stay the course.“
Out of the Woods: What I thought
This book begins with the author moving into an isolated cottage in the woods. At the end of the book, she’s moved out again. In the time in between, she’s a bit lost. She has been a widow for years and her daughter has gone to college. To start over again, she moves to the cottage that is at the end of a dirt track. She plans to work here (she’s a journalist and writer) and make a life for herself.
Things are not going well, she’s lonely and literally gets lost in the woods. She fights back by following a map reading course that also gives her insight to guide the rest of her life back to normality.
The narration felt a bit distant. I never connected with the author. The reader learns a bit of her past, but generally, she remains a stranger who is lost in the woods. I admired her nerve for living so isolated and trying to cope on her own in a whole new situation. It was interesting to read about her navigation lessons and her mother’s mental degradation that is a small part of the story, too.
Even though I never got to know the narrator, I still thought this was an interesting memoir about a middle-aged woman trying to get her feet back on the ground.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)
Number of pages: 272
First published: 2014
I got this: from the publisher, Harper, for review
Genre: non-fiction, memoir