Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"Into the Forest" by Jean Regland Book Review

Book Review of "Into the Forest" by Jean Regland

"Oh, I will always remember that moment when, even with the universe spackled above us, bright with an infinity of stars and dark with infinite space, it was impossible for me to believe that Ptolemy wasn't right, that our own Earth, our little tribe, and Eli's hand on my waist were not the center of everything there was." - Into the Forest by Jean Hegland 

I'd never heard of the novel "Into the Forest" until I saw the trailer for the film adaptation, but after watching it I knew I had to read the book! After all,  that is my ( often broken) book to movie adaptation rule - solid effort must be put into reading the book before watching the movie. It's just good common sense : ) Well, I just finished reading "Into the Forest" and feels - but mostly confusion and a little bit of frustration.

Book Review of "Into the Forest" by Jean Regland

Super simple plot summary of "Into the Forest" - Nell and Eva are sisters living remotely with their parents outside of Redwood, California. The family is about 30 miles from town, so when society starts to fall apart for a variety of reasons - disease, energy crisis, political unrest- they are in a unique position  to live off the land. Living remotely, particularly in a post apocalypse, creates its own difficulties and dangers, and Eva and Nell are forced to sacrifice parts of themselves for their survival.

Spoilers ahead 

I loved this book for the first 100 pages for a couple of reasons - I really like this stage in the post apocalypse world. We haven't gotten to the "Hunger Games" stage in society where we are competing to the death and we aren't in a "I Am Legend" waste land. What Eva and Nell are going through felt very real. I enjoyed reading the experiences of each of the characters and the confusion they felt trying to balance survival with maintaining their person hood and norms. I liked the flashing back and forth between past and present and the contrast between pre apocalypse and post. I was inspired and intrigued by the sister's resourcefulness and their compassion for each other... and then, seemingly out of nowhere, the sisters have sex... with each other, to be clear.


That was my face for like a solid hour.

I flipped back like twenty pages and reread thinking I MUST have missed some sign that this sister incest moment was coming- but nope. Because, I don't have any sisters, but I have two brothers and - like, I can't even finish this sentence - I'm too creeped out! I have a hard time believing that incest can just happen randomly like that. And even more strangely, afterward, it was like it didn't happen! Never mentioned again! I don't know, I don't know - ahhh - I'm lucky enough to have no idea how those kinds of things play out but just - blah. Nope, and so after all of "that" what was a four star book for me fell to two stars, and I just couldn't ever recover from that randomness!

Beside this paragraph long weirdness, which when I think about the book I'm going to pretend didn't happen. This was a great book. I loved the writing- it was poetic, and incredibly descriptive without feeling overwritten. I would absolutely read another book by this debut author.

Check out the trailer for the movie adaptation!

How do you handle those random things that happen that you felt like didn't quite fit in a book you otherwise loved? Have you read "Into the Forest"? What did you think about the book?

Interested in reading this book? Click the link to the left to find a copy at your local library or click below to view the book on Amazon.


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