Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Book Review: "In the Heart of the Dark Wood"

In the Heart of the Dark Wood is a coming of age story about two eleven-year-olds, a boy and a girl who've been best friends for pretty much all of their lives, who get lost in the woods and struggle to survive. Unfortunately, they have different goals apart from surviving. Zach wants to do the responsible and manly thing, to get himself, the girl, and her dog safely home. Allie wants to complete the mission that brought them to the woods in the first place. She wants to find her mother, who disappeared 18 months earlier when a tornado devastated their town. The author tells us one day into their ordeal exactly how long it will last; he just doesn't tell us whether or not they will get home alive . . . and he really keeps readers guessing about that.

As fascinating as the book was, in a just-can't-look-away-from-the-wreck sort of way, I recommend it with caution, if I recommend it at all. I can't make up my mind. If I hadn't promised to read it for review, I probably would have put it down before the 10th page. Even then, I almost set it aside at about page 80; I'd just had enough of the author's focus on all the unpleasant details of life. A lot of it seemed unnecessary and irrelevant, too much. I did keep reading, though, and once the kids were lost in the woods, I wanted to know their fate. Now that I know, I'm not sure I believe their story ended the way it did. And I'm not sure I get the message of the book, other than that, in order to grow up, we have to let go of the past and move as bravely as we can into the future, and that God, Who is more mysterious than we can comprehend, is watching over us and directing our steps even though He sometimes leads us into painful or unpleasant places for our ultimate good and growth.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for this honest review.

No comments:

Post a Comment