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Second Nature
Second Nature
Author: Alice Hoffman
A New York Times bestseller, Second Nature tells the story of a suburban woman, Robin Moore, who discovers her own free spirit through a stranger she brings home to her perfectly ordered neighborhood. As Robin impulsively draws this beautiful, uncivilized man into her world-meanwhile coping with divorce and a troubled teenage son-she beg...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780399139086
ISBN-10: 0399139087
Publication Date: 2/9/1994
Pages: 254
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 20 ratings
Publisher: Putnam Pub Group (T)
Book Type: Hardcover
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reviewed Second Nature on + 80 more book reviews
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.