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Book Reviews of Into the Forest

Into the Forest
Into the Forest
Author: Jean Hegland
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ISBN-13: 9780553379617
ISBN-10: 0553379615
Publication Date: 9/1/1998
Pages: 256
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 98 ratings
Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

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

Leigh avatar reviewed Into the Forest on + 377 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
An amazing account of a world where suddenly everything we rely upon (electricity, easy access to food and shelter, etc.) is gone. Two girls struggle to keep their dreams alive in spite of it all -- but don't realize that their ideas of what is true and what is real are shifting the entire time.

There are several truly moving scenes, including the final one, as well as the one in which the main character drinks white tea for the first time.

I don't give it a full five stars because of a scene I felt was unnecessary and didn't add to the story. But you can decide for yourself. On the whole, quite amazing.
reviewed Into the Forest on
Helpful Score: 7
I wasn't expecting this to be a post apoplectic book. Mom asked me to get it because she had heard good things about the author, it was at my house for a while so I read it. Two teenaged girls find themselves living on the edge of the forest somewhere in California. The characters were well defined, and the book was easy to read. I am not going to say much more about it except that several weeks after finishing the book I am still thinking about how it ended, which means to me that it was a good book.
reviewed Into the Forest on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I imagined this book to be very different from how it was. I thought this book would be an intriguing story of what it would be like should America implode and we start to live without electricity, gas, and the very real threat of antibiotic resistant viruses. Instead the author glosses over what has happened in ways that just feel like a cop-out. The characters are already very far removed from society, and the fact that they pretty much don't care what is going on in the outside world isn't even believeable, it is just lazy writing.

But what made this novel fail to take off for me were the characters. For over half of the book I didn't care at all about the narrator or her family, because she didn't really care either. Selfish and shallow characters whose lives revolve around very 2-dimensional hopes and dreams. Eva is one of the two sisters, and even at the end of the book all you really walk away knowing about her is that she loves ballet.

There was one really cool scene, when the family first goes to town and tries to shop at a Sam's club-like store. There is a 'provocative' scene, which was predictable and cheap and probably just what you are imagining. I loved the premise, and almost wish a better author could rewrite the book that I was hoping for.
BarteringBibliophile avatar reviewed Into the Forest on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Into the Forest is less a dystopian novel about the after effects of war, and more a story about the strengthening bond between two sisters as they learn to survive without the everyday conveniences of modern living. Surprisingly intelligent, this story provides poignant insights and metaphors about life and survival.

This is a very quick read. If you are looking for a dystopian novel, as I was, you might be slightly disappointed. I was surprised by how the book turned out. I would definitely not compare this to works by more prominent authors of the genre.

Despite some questionable scenes, this book made me desire a stronger relationship with my own sister.
reviewed Into the Forest on
Helpful Score: 2
"Over 30 miles from the nearest town, and several miles away from their nearest neighbor, Nell and Eva struggle to survive as society begins to decay and collapse around them. No single event precedes society's fall. There is talk of a war overseas and upheaval in Congress, but it still comes as a shock when the electricity runs out and gas is nowhere to be found. The sisters consume the resources left in the house, waiting for the power to return. Their arrival into adulthood, however, forces them to reexamine their place in the world and their relationship to the land and each other."

This book was recommended to me and I often recommend it to others. A very engaging read.
reviewed Into the Forest on + 50 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book was awesome! A story of survival by two sisters after the world as we know it seems to disappear. It is a testament to love, respect, and above all survival. Don't miss it!!
reviewed Into the Forest on + 48 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
THis book tells a story of the aftermath of a world war. A curious book about being left alone in the world with your sister.
crowweaver avatar reviewed Into the Forest on
Helpful Score: 2
Into The Forest is a story that's not so far fetched, not so far from where we are this very minute. A story less about "what if" and more about "when". It's a book that's full and rich with truth, fantasy and hope when two young sisters who must find a way to survive, live and grow in a world they don't understand and know nothing about. It's about love and loss, letting go and holding tight, death and renewal. It's about canning lids and matches, sisters and friends, survival and truly learning to live.

A permanent addition to my personal library.
yogagoddess avatar reviewed Into the Forest on + 59 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Sisterhood....what a strange, beautiful relationship. Complicated yet tender. Into the Forest is a novel the captures all the terrifying and heartfelt emotions sisters experience, in the truest form. I recommend this book to anyone who has a sister, let this story remind you how blessed you are.
nantuckerin avatar reviewed Into the Forest on + 158 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
[close] If things ever truly go to hell, this is a book I'm going to throw into my rucksack as my family and I flee the city to live off the land. That sounds pithy, but it's also true.

In Into the Forest, Hegland paints a very grim dystopian view of the near-future United States. The national banking market has collapsed, mail is no longer running, and the government has all but disolved. As readers, we're given very little explanation of exactly what happened and how the nation became the way it is, but its an interesting effect. The 17- and 18-year-old sisters that are the center of the story don't know why the power stopped working or what has happened to the Internet, either.

This book is a more mature, and darker view than that posed by another, similar book I read recently, Life As We Knew It. But where in that book, the young herione has the guidance of her mother and older brother to help her along, and where rationing canned goods and pilaging abandoned homes are the biggest threats, Into the Forest poses a different stark horror. (spoiler alert!) The sisters are starving and truly living off the land, eating roots, using plants for medicine and learning to live as our ancestors did. One of the sisters is raped by a wanderer, becomes pregnant and gives birth. The experience of the sisters struggling to deliver and later save this newborn when they are starving themselves was difficult to read, but inspiring.

The book, though so grim throughout, does end with hope. It's not a book I'd rush to read again, but I won't get rid of it, either. Because, well, you never know. [close]
Shervivor avatar reviewed Into the Forest on + 97 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
There were at least two occasions while reading this book that I wanted to bail on it. I stuck it out and managed to finish it. There were small pieces of the book that were good but overall I didn't like the story. The book is written in narration format of one of the main characters. It is based on her writing down her thoughts of what had happened to her family in the recent past and then moving forward of how the shut down of the economy affected their lives. There is never a clear explanation as to why the whole thing happened. There are also some parts involving the relationship between her and her sister that is just weird and totally unnecessary.

I can't imagine ever recommending this book to anyone, even to those who love the EOTW (end of the world) genre. I say don't waste your time on this one.
Mahala avatar reviewed Into the Forest on + 192 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I did enjoy this book. The ending I hoped would be different, but overall a good read!
love2lovebooks avatar reviewed Into the Forest on + 74 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This novel blew my mind. The writing is so beautiful. Like 241 pages of poetry with a story. The relationship between Eva and Nell is so strong and there's so much emotion that the author writes wonderfully that you feel every fear and joy they do.

There was only one part of the book that bothered me, it was a mere six or so paragraph's. I thought the author put it there for sheer shock value, and don't see how it affected the over all story all that much. But everything else in this book was A+. I highly recommend it for those who like stories of personal growth and the idea of how the world itself could collapse in on itself.
hharris avatar reviewed Into the Forest on + 46 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is an excellent book that delves in the natural history of Northern California in a book of fiction.
lilguppy avatar reviewed Into the Forest on + 30 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book had some classic survival themes but I found it was more creepy in the emotional way. When Eva and Nell find themselves alone fending for themselves, they find they also must try to keep themselves together. It really brings out so many emotions, sadness, fear, disgust, anger and hope.
reviewed Into the Forest on
Helpful Score: 1
This book took me 2 days to read, not because it was a great book, but because it had no real substance to absorb. A great book if you'd like a book that requires nothing from the reader.
reviewed Into the Forest on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I heard this as a book on tape a few years ago and the story stuck with me so much that I wanted to read it "in person." This is a great story, with believable characters. A sort of alternate reality-- what would happen if we were forced to live without gas, electricity, etc-- makes you think what you and your family would do.
reviewed Into the Forest on + 5 more book reviews
I had this book for a long before reading it and I ended up hating it.
The book had an interesting premise which is why I bought it years ago, but when I started reading it,
I was dismayed by the Anti- Christian comments the father and sisters started expressing, but kept on reading.
Finally, with about two thirds of the book left, the sisters literally got it on.
I was so disgusted, but decided to finish as I had invested the time.
I ended up the book being even more annoyed by the sisters decision to burn down their parents slowly decaying house along with almost everything they own, and go to live in a I guess you'd call it an enclosure they'd constructed in the woods inside a big redwood stump.The enclosure was made out of salvaged tin and logs from the forest and was very small.I And this with a 6 month old baby to care for too.
I finished the book thinking that the sister Eva- who first suggested this idea had gone crazy, and Nell -the other sister had gone just as crazy for going along with it.It does say Nell chose 3 books from the house to try to educate her nephew with before the burning, but it never explained what they thought they would do when the few clothes and shoes they took with them wore out, where the baby's clothes were going to come from, how if civilization ever returned to normal the baby who could be a grown up then, would make it with what limited information they could teach him.They seemed to think they could survive just as the Pomo Indians had hundreds of years ago in the same area, but I saw an undercurrent at the end that seemed to point to the conclusion that they would end up dying.
This book had the potential to be such fine storytelling, but it was a disappointment.
reviewed Into the Forest on + 168 more book reviews
Brilliant book. It has ideas in it that are so very relevant to our present state of affairs. We are so close, now, to what is described in this novel. The relationship between the two sisters is beautifully written. An absolutely wonderful book. It made me wish for a sister!
reviewed Into the Forest on + 1213 more book reviews
This is the story of two teenagers who are looking forward to a beautiful life. Eva is eighteen and wants to dance, becoming a ballerina like her mother. Nell is sixteen, loves to read and learn. She wants to go to Harvard. Suddenly, the world falls apart. Their mother dies of cancer and their father dies due to an accident. Even more happens as the world itself changes dramatically. Electricity is lost, gas is no longer available, food is scarce, and more. It means the end of the girls' dreams. How they learn to cope with all the changes and determine how to live, let alone exist, is the basis of this tale. The love of the sisters sustains them and sometimes separates them. It's a good, good tale and I liked it very much.
reviewed Into the Forest on + 47 more book reviews
I really loved this gentle and fascinating book. Rarely do you read a book that is totally from a woman's point of view, especially one dealing with a topic like the end of the world as we know it. I was especially impressed by the way Hegland developed her characters - which she kept to an absolute minimum for a solid story. A well written, absorbing story that kept me turning the pages and feasting on every line.
reviewed Into the Forest on
I wasn't a big fan of the journal writing style and past tense point of view. I guess it was meant to create suspense and make us wonder what had happened, but it just aggravated me. I couldn't get into the characters or this book at all, but I kept thinking it would take off and be a great 'end of civilization' type book. I finally decided to stop reading after an innappropriate scene between the sisters. I skimmed after that to the ending and read that, but it was nothing like I expected. No answers as to what happened to cut off power and phones in the beginning. I don't recommend this book.
tracymar avatar reviewed Into the Forest on + 407 more book reviews
Very absorbing tale of two late adolescent sisters attempting to survive alone in the woods after the world has collapsed around them and most of the few people they encounter are scavengers. Beautifully written.
reviewed Into the Forest on + 4 more book reviews
very nice read.
BigGreenChair avatar reviewed Into the Forest on + 382 more book reviews
Evocative; beautifully written. I couldn't put it down. Read it in one sitting.
reviewed Into the Forest on + 8 more book reviews
I expected this to be the female versions of My side of the Mountain or Hatchet. It was not, but rather more of the lead-up to what is mentioned in the title. Very good.
reviewed Into the Forest on + 10 more book reviews
Sisters are left behind when a catastrophic event changes the very world in which they've been so comfortable. Now they must forage through the forest and find keys to survival in a new world.
reviewed Into the Forest on + 13 more book reviews
I confess I haven't read this one. I got it in a book club swap. The previous owner said that she enjoyed it.
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