Book Reviews of Second Nature

Second Nature
Second Nature
Author: Alice Hoffman
ISBN-13: 9780425146811
ISBN-10: 0425146812
Publication Date: 4/1/1995
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.

3.4 stars, based on 35 ratings
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

13 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Second Nature on
Helpful Score: 1
This is a sometimes sad, but always entertaining book on people who are "different" in anyway. I loved it. GinaK
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Going through a divorce, Robin Moore makes an impulsive decision to save a man from an institutionalized lifetime committment. The man, whom she dubs Stephen,the lone survivor as a three year old of a plane crash, was raised by wolves. Handsome human form covers an instinct that was honed by nature, and Stephen is a paradox of both human and animal traits. The book is a fascinating look at life from varying viewpoints, of morals and relationships, good and evil as defined by each individual. Great read.
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From Publishers Weekly
Beguiled by her seductive prose and her imaginative virtuosity, readers have always been willing to suspend disbelief and enjoy the touches of magic in Hoffman's novels ( Illumination Night ; Turtle Moon , etc). Here, credibility is stretched not by magical intervention but by the implausibility of a major character. When a feral young man is discovered living with wolves in a remote area of upper Michigan, he cannot speak and can barely remember his early life. Transferred to a hospital in Manhattan, he does not utter a sound and is on his way to being incarcerated in a mental institution until divorced landscape designer Robin Moore impulsively hustles him into her pickup truck and carries him to the sanctuary of her home on an island in Nassau County. There the Wolf Man reveals that his name is Stephen and that he was the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed his parents when he was three-and-a-half years old; thereafter he lived with a wolf pack. Within three months Robin teaches Stephen to read; soon afterwards they begin a passionate affair. How Stephen can so easily expand the small vocabulary he had mastered at a tender age but has never used since, how suddenly he can deal with sophisticated concepts, speak in grammatical sentences and even observe the social graces, is the central flaw that undermines what is otherwise a highly engaging tale. Stephen's presence in the community causes various people to reassess their lives; then there is a tragedy involving a child, (a device that is beginning to be a pattern in Hoffman's novels, as are strange changes in climate that herald a significant event). Hoffman's keen appraisal of human nature and her graceful prose do much to keep this novel appealing; but the bedrock implausibility may deter readers from whole-hearted enjoyment.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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my husband and i both read this book and i think we've found a new author we like! in a way it reminds me of anne tyler's books, in a way not. great story.
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psychologically gripping and compelling
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A Desert Island Keeper
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This book has a story about a man raised by a wolf pack after a plane crash and how one woman's love and understanding brings him back to the world.
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This is a great book. I have it in hardback. A collector.
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Alice Hoffman is one of my favorite writers. This book lives up to Hoffman's previous sucesses. What I liked about Second Nature was the character development and relationship among the characters. The book does not have anything to do with witchcraft but the characters do have the ability to sense things about others, get a feeling about what will happen. Their insights are way beyond my own. The story concerns a man who was the sole survivor of a plane crash when he was a small child, raised among the wolves. Returned to society as an adult, his insights and discomforts as well as human feelings he cannot avoid are the focus of the story. I recommend this book to all who are looking for a good read.
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Well, this was a strange book. A bit unbelievable in its entirety.. and the liberties that were taken with the feral child myth bordered on the ridiculous. The ending was not satisfactory. Overall, it was not a terrible book, it was entertaining and a fast read, but the characters' motivations fell flat and that spark of life was missing from them to make it a more enjoyable story.
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very good, though not my favorite of Hoffman's.
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Very predictable. Once all the pieces were in place, about halfway through the book, I just sat there waiting for the end to come. It took longer than I thought to get there, but I felt it was rushed through.

Not a book that I would recommend, especially when this author has much better books.
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He was beautiful. He was innocent. And in the locked room where the psychiatrists kept him, he was treated more ike an animal than a human being. Robin Moore, coping with a divorce-in-progress and a troubled teenaged son, surprised even herself when she impulsively rescued this man, who'd been raised in the wilderness and had no more sophistication than a child. She spirited him home to her suburban town, where she could keep him safe. But with the stange, uncivilized man's arrival came a streak of wild, uncontrollable events that distruged the peace in this perfectly ordered neighborhood-and changed all of Robin's ideas about love and humanity...