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5.0 out of 5 starsBeautiful, thought-provoking, engaging memoir
Reviewed in the United States on January 2, 2014
Micah Perks writes with craft, wisdom, humor, and grace about raising her daughter to be brave, even as she hopes that this independent, resourceful young woman will also stay safe in an unpredictable world. I love the way Perks weaves together strands that complement each other and create new meanings together: her own childhood on a commune, almost always among other children; the persuasive power of literature about living in nature, from Thoreau to Cheryl Strayed; and her worries about her daughter -- worries that are so familiar to any parent. As I think about this piece, I'm left with wonderful images and resonances that I will carry into my own life: the doe who listens keenly to Perks' infant daughter's cries; the fearful nights Perks herself spent as a young person in the spot of her family's former commune; the wild rain storm near the coast of California, which sends Perks and her daughter running out of their collapsed tent to the car. This is a beautiful story-essay for anyone who loves writing that's gracefully crafted, engaging, and meaningful, about the world's dangers and beauty, and a parent's wish for her child to be both courageous and careful.
Reviewed in the United States on December 23, 2013
While readers of Cheryl Strayed's acclaimed memoir will absolutely find something to love here, Perks' "Alone in the Woods" is a standout essay-memoir entirely on its own terms. In absorbing prose that reads as if your most articulate best friend is telling you this captivating story, Perks delves through nature, solitude, mother-daughter relationships, safety in the wilderness, and of navigating the wilderness within ourselves. As Perks' rebellious teen daughter finds an outlet for her wildness in the wilderness, the author's own story of being "alone in the woods" unfolds to surprising, insightful results that lead to fresh perspective on her daughter and their relationship, Cheryl Strayed's journey, and embracing the wild within us all.
Ms. Perks has written an urgent, lovely meditation on time and memory, on generations of women trying to navigate the dark territory between the tame and the wild. How do you protect a daughter who seems unafraid of the world? How do you instill caution without fear, a sense of adventure without menace? What does it mean to encounter the wild—both within and without—and return safely home? Elegant, big-hearted, funny and scary, this is a small book that takes on big questions—about reading and the imagination, and living on the dark and life-giving side, just past the border of the domestic fence.
I've read the books, had the fears, the wildness, the desire to be wild only to find my fear. I felt guilty for feeling my fear, and thought I held myself back from my wild core. This book showed me that this is not bad, it's wonderful!
5.0 out of 5 starsInsightful Teaches somethings have to be exsperienced to be understood
Reviewed in the United States on July 29, 2014
This book would perfect foe my 16 year old granddaughter. We talked about these same things yesterday. She stands on the brink of life her own and is not sure where she will find the courage she will need. Until you have been alone in the woods you can not know how you will react.
This is a beautiful and heartfelt meditation on risk, bravery, motherhood, and the process of understanding who we really are. Though she’s certainly no stranger to wildness herself, Perks explores the confusing terrain of raising a daughter with a much higher threshold for adventure, danger, and risk than her own, delving into her conflicted relationship with her daughter’s wildness with considerable grace. Highly recommended!