For my fourth "Dewey's Book" I read Into the Forest by Jean Hegland.
As a quick aside, the further I get into this challenge the more I feel like I would have loved Dewey. I didn't know her at all when she was alive--I wasn't and still really am not part of the hardcore book blogging community. But following in her footsteps, reading some of the books she read, seeing what she thought of them, and then comparing her thoughts to my own....it's almost like we're having a conversation. And it's a conversation I'm very much enjoying. Last week I went back through her entire blog and added several books to my to be read pile, in addition to the books I'd already picked out for this challenge.
This particular book seems to have been one of Dewey's favorites. In answering a meme
she once said:
Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?
I really, really liked a book called Into the Forest by Jean Hegland, and it had great reviews, but whenever I tell someone about it, they generally don’t seem interested.
She summarized the plot as follows:
The story is narrated by Nell, one of two sisters who are left alone in their house in the Northern California redwood forest after society virtually shuts down. Their mother dies of cancer before the loss of electricity, gas, stores, etc. After months of living off whatever they have stored and their garden, their father has an accident with his chainsaw and dies. The sisters have to figure out how to survive in complete isolation while waiting and hoping that things will get back to normal. Of course things never do get back to normal. Their gradual transformation from dependent teenagers to independent women living off the land is fascinating.
This is a book that's a little bit hard to describe for me. It just....has a soul. Does that make sense?
And maybe it's because I could see myself so vividly as Nell...the worrier, the planner, the one who reads books to make sense of the world.
And I loved the way both sisters eventually grew--I get so frustrated with characters that don't! At first they both continue their passions (for one sister, studying, for the other, ballet), as if the world will be normal and the "lights will just come back on" one day, but they gradually realize that's not going to happen, and the forest is now their world. It seems like it might be boring, but watching them grow to accept their new lives, and watching their relationship change--well, it just did all the things to me that a good book should!
Thank you Dewey, wherever you are, for introducing me to such wonderful books....