*** About the Book ***
Once in the rainforest Robin comes face-to-face with her fears of the unknown (and of all the deadly critters!). As she learns to conquer her fears she comes face-to-face with nature and she begins to see the beauty in the life and death around her. Eventually she begins to strip away the trappings of society and truly know her own self.
*** Why I Read It ***
I read the description of this book at TLC Book Tour’s blog and immediately signed up for it. I love books about people connecting with nature, plus Robin’s story reminded me of The Horse Boy (a book I truly loved).
*** My Thoughts ***
Oh, do I have mixed feelings about this book!
I truly loved the very first page and I was excited to get into the story. When I was a child my family went camping at least once every summer, always alongside the same river, miles from the nearest town. There were usually 10 or more of us, including my cousins’ families, so we had quite a little encampment. We’d dig our own “bathroom”, bathe and wash dishes in the river, and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature. All those memories were revived when I read the first page of this book.
The early part of the book deals with Robin’s life before her rainforest experience. Although I didn’t identify with Robin’s disconnectedness from her own life I certainly understood what she was saying. I could see how she was in desperate need of a big change. When Ian comes along he provides not only the push to make the change she needs but also something to connect with.
Robin’s early experiences in the rainforest were where I identified with her the most. I too am afraid of just about every creeping, crawling critter out there. Seeing how she conquered her fears was inspiring. I kept thinking, “I could do that!” Then, of course, she’d do something else and I’d think, “No WAY could I ever do that!” *smile*
As the book progressed Robin began to communicate more and more with the living rainforest around her. I understand that feeling of connectedness (though it’s not something I experience often), of feeling like you are only a very small part of a very large and living world. I too have experienced aliveness, freedom, openness while alone in the forest. Robin's desire to be naked and free in the rainforest was completely familiar to me.
It was when the trees began to talk back to her – in actual sentences – that she started to lose me.
Not only did the trees talk in sentences but the content and structure of those sentences was rather odd in my opinion. The sentence structure I could partially forgive; it seems to be a common issue throughout the book, as Robin tries to convey the meaning or intent of a situation by forcing it into conversational phrases. But the content … that was a bit beyond me. The trees told her she was autistic, and used that word? Again, a bit beyond the realm of my belief.
And although I understand that crying can be a very cleansing and refreshing activity, it did get a bit tedious to read that Robin was crying yet again - it seemed to happen every few pages.
I was disappointed that the book ended where it did. The note about the author on the TLC page discussed Robin’s musical abilities after she came out of the rainforest but this isn’t mentioned in the book at all. Also, in the acknowledgments at the start of the book Robin mentions her husband Stephan. Stephan? What the heck happened to Ian? I’d really have liked to know more about those two things.
I wanted to love this book and I did truly love many parts of it. If Robin had merely shared about her connection with the rainforest without directly quoting her conversations with the trees I’d have enjoyed it much, much more.
*** Your Thoughts ***
Is this the kind of book that appeals to you? Would you have picked it up, like I did, based on the description? If you’ve read it, what did you think of it?