Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

128 of 129 people found the following review helpful
This is not the type of book I tend to read - my husband picked it out for me. Knowing nothing of her, I kept waiting for her to reveal herself to be some type of political or sociological extremist. Instead, she simply told stories ... no platforms - just vignettes from her life in the Andirondack. She tells how she came to build a log cabin in that remote terrain, including the mistakes she made when she built it. She tells of the struggles to keep a pet, about some of her hiking adventures and the personalities that came through her life. When she talks of environmental concerns, she is a realist and does not presuppose that everyone would want life on the terms that she does while pointing out that so many of us have no idea what life would be like without a TV or radio wailing. Plus, she never really "launches" into environmental concerns - they just come up during some of the stories as salient points. Such as how snowmobiles and motorboats had affected her life - for good and bad - and describing the conditions of hiking public trails, etc.
I am very impressed with Ms. LaBastille. She is a much stronger woman than I. I could never live this way but it does makes me want to visit. Instead of feeling energized or particularly educated in some way, I would have to say this book leaves the reader contemplative. I have a feeling its effect on me will last much past the time I have forgotten the story line in other books I have read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2000
I read this book many years ago and was transported to a place that I have often wished I could go--off into the woods to a small cabin with my dog. I don't seem to have the patience to #1 build the cabin or #2 sit still for very long after it is done. I admired Anne for her willingness to "go it on her own". I have loaned this book to many, many of my women friends, bought copies as gifts, and even met a woman from Denmark and got HER interested. Try it. It will make Walden Pond much more real. Be careful, however, you may find yourself looking through the Real Estate sections of the paper for property of your own. Dream your dreams.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 1999
If you love the Adirondack Mts. of northern New York you will love to read Ms.Bastille's books. She makes the woods come alive. Her books are about her Adirondack life written from a woman's perspective. Her writings are gutsy, romantic, while at the same time they are a honest portrayal of life in the North Country. If she keeps writing them I'll keep reading them. Anne Bastille is a role model for women and girls who love the outdoors.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2010
What a comfort, as I contemplate my lifelong dream to move to a cabin in the northern woods in coming years, that another woman has done something similar in her life some decades ago, and made it work for her so well. Even as Anne LaBastille was troubled by the very same concerns and questions as I am, she found ways to overcome, do without, cope, embrace, and handle the challenges that came her way. A woman alone in the woods ... how safe is she? What if she gets sick or injured? How to handle wildlife or rough weather or fire? How to handle trespassers on her property who may be inclined to hurt her? Will she be able to pay her bills as a freelance writer?

When Anne LaBastille was still a relatively young woman, her marriage ended in divorce. She had to find a place to live--quick. In two months' time, she found a remote plot of land in the Adirondacks, and she set to work building her own log cabin. With only a bit of help in the heaviest or trickiest part of the labor, LaBastille designed and built the cabin herself in short order.

Mind you, this is no burly Amazon woman. The photos in LaBastille's autobiography show a slender, pretty woman, deeply tanned, flannel shirt sleeves rolled up on her sinewy arms, comfortable in her jeans, hair in long braids or ponytails, chainsaw in hand. Nor is she even particularly assertive or bold. At times, she's downright shy. She's just a woman who is comfortable alone, knows how to take care of herself, and loves nature.

LaBastille has had a loyal following of readers ever since her series of Woodswoman books first came out, beginning in the mid 1970s. It seems while few do what she has done, many hold a dream in common about a cabin in the woods. Her cabin in the woods is quite primitive, in fact, with no electricity--she powers anything that requires power by generator or propane gas--and no running water--her baths are mostly taken skinny-dipping in the lake each morning or by heating water in a small tub on her outdoor deck--and without a flushing toilet--she uses an outhouse with a view.

The author's style is easy and friendly, even while she makes it clear her door is not open to just anyone. She does not appreciate intruders, is wary of her fans, and has no qualms about tossing hunters off her land with a loaded shotgun. Indeed, she encourages a reputation of being called, as one of the hunters snarled at her, [b..]. It helps enforce her privacy.

This is a love story of the first order. Sure, there is the romance, initially between her and her husband, who taught her to be a better camper and how to use a chainsaw, and later, there is a romance between her and a man who visits her on weekends from his life in the city. She chooses her cabin and solitude first and foremost, however, when he invites her to accompany him to Alaska, and that's the end of that. No, the real love story here is between Anne LaBastille and the Adirondacks, between the author and a woman's closest friend--her dog, Pitzi. No matter what conflict or friction, hurdle or challenge, or test of endurance the wilderness tosses her way, LaBastille finds a way to deal with it and emerge victorious. Mind you, she isn't trying to beat nature at her game. LaBastille is nature's ally, woman to woman, and her approach to the challenges of living this kind of lifestyle are respectful. She works with nature rather than against it.

The stories of her life enchant. Descriptions of the changing of seasons are beautiful, as are moments of sitting on her dock on the lake to watch a loon or an otter swim by, or hiking through mountains with her faithful canine friend alongside her. She shows the reader the beauty of her home without whitewashing the mistakes and miscalculations she makes with it. Living as she does is a constant learning process. Nor does she do entirely without the help of friends. When accidents happen, and they do happen, help finds its way to her. She knows when to accept help, and when to be stubborn and stand her ground.

About one unexpected effect of living as a woman alone in the wilderness, she writes:

"The process of learning how to cope as a woman alone had backfired to an extent. I had noticed that the more competent I became, the more insecure certain men acted, or the more aggressive others behaved toward me. It was as if their inferiority complexes were showing, as if they couldn't stand to have a female be better at anything than they."

To some, LaBastille may be an enigma. How can a woman be so feminine and strong at the same time? So tender in some things yet so harsh and sturdy in others? Perhaps these are questions some may ask, but I took comfort in reading about this woman who was, simply, a woman--competent, intelligent (she has a PhD), self-sufficient, strong, spirited, yet open-hearted to those who brought added meaning to her life and respect to her wild corner of the world. Her comparison between living in the wild and living in the wild city is really quite hilarious, and makes the point: choose your risks. The wilderness may be far from the scariest place a woman can live.

Added notes on ecology are a major bonus of this memoir. By living in the woods, the author learns how deeply pollution of various kinds has affected our earth. Acid rain kills off lakes until they can no longer be fished. Development efforts seem to be a constant threat. Noise pollution proves a daunting enemy. The greatest challenge LaBastille faces in her wilderness is to preserve it. This isn't just one woman's story; it's a wakeup call.

"Still the cabin is the wellspring, the source, the hub of my existence. It gives me tranquility, a closeness to nature and wildlife, good health and fitness, a sense of security, the opportunity for resourcefulness, reflection, and creative thinking. Yet my existence here has not been, and never will be, idyllic. Nature is too demanding for that. It requires a constant response to the environment. I must adapt to its changes--the seasons, the vagaries of weather, wear and tear on house and land, the physical demands of my body, the sensuous pulls on my senses. Despite these demands, I share a feeling of continuity, contentment, and oneness with the natural world, with life itself, in my surroundings of tall pines, clear lakes, flying squirrels, trailless peaks, shy deer, clean air, bullfrogs, black flies, and trilliums."

As for me, reading LaBastille's honest perspective on her life alone in the woods is refreshing and inspiring. I moved quickly from this book to the next one in the series, reading that one just as quickly. I can understand why she has such a following of admirers. She has lived the dream of many that very few will ever realize. She has been true to herself, and that takes courage too many lack.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2002
I read the first "Woodswoman" autobiography in 1983 when it was published in German and I loved it from the first page on. LaBastille influenced me to focus more on pieceful trips to the country than to go on exploring big cities like Paris or Amsterdam. Thanks to her I heard about Henry David Thoreau and on my first US trip in 1988 I walked around Walden Pond.
When I read her second autobiography "Beyond Black Bear Lake", I was amazed that from the very vague description in the book some of her readers were able to find her log cabin. Until today I have no clue where she lives and I don`t need to know. All I want her to do is writing Part IV and Part V and if possible Part VI, too.
I was lucky to spend a few days of my long October trip in 1997 in the Adirondacks and when I returned to my favorite bookstore in Lake Placid, "The Pipe and More", I was delighted to find out that her third volume was just published, "Woodswoman III". I even got a signed paperback copy.
Now I can`t wait 2005 and Part IV being published...
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 1999
I too have a camp in the Adirondacks and I find her writing very interesting as I can relate to so many things. The fresh air and surroundings are so addictive. I have passed her books on to others and they too would love to meet with her. I am hoping to meet her in August for her book signing. I sense a sadness on her broken relationships and I feel that many of those men were intimidated by a strong woman, but a vulnerable one as well. I felt the pain of losing her beloved dogs and I feel as though I know her from all of her books. I am in the process of reading her newest book.
I too long for the northwoods as there is peace and serenity that many have never have known. The air is the freshest, the scenery the most beautiful. I need to be there every week or every other week or I go into a withdrawal.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 1999
Anne captures the beauty and difficulties of living with naturein this book. Through her words, I felt as if I were with her duringthe adventures of her "simple" life and could see the beauty of the mountains. This story of strength is a must for Women-lovers and Nature-lovers alike.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2013
The "Woodswoman" series is quite interesting if you love nature and enjoy stories of people building their own log cabins in the wilderness, and their adventures in the wild. Anne La Bastille's home wasn't complete wilderness -- she writes at length of problems with vacationers roaring loud motorboats on her idyllic Adirondack lake -- and of neighbors nearby. However, her books are full of adventures with wild animals, as well as her beloved German Shepherds.
These books are homey and genuine, heartfelt, warm and enjoyable, but they are not particularly literary, which was a disappointment to me. After reading all the excellent reviews of her books, I expected fine writing, but found nothing of the quality one could enjoy in "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed, or "Indian Creek Chronicles" by Pete Fromm, or "Call of the AMerican Wild" by Guy Grieve. It is best to approach these books without expectations that you will be stimulated by their literary quality, but rather approach them as you would the stories that a friend shared with you.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 5, 2007
This book is one that cannot be put down, both literally and physically. I see that the author has been put down, often called a "Barbie Doll". I find that hard to swallow on many levels. Whatever title you may give her, she above all is a women who can right an amazing book, live in the woods, and teach important lessons.
I would fully recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the woods, Upstate NY, survial, and a good book. I am very happy I purchased this book in the heart of Upstate NY. My only regret is not reading it sooner.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2005
I read this book when it was first published and I have carried it around in my head ever since. My copy has "gone missing" and now intend to repurchase and read it again. I will always recall Anne's adventures warmly. Her statement about using the wind as a dryer has stuck with me. She is a remarkble woman.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
We Took to the Woods
We Took to the Woods by Louise D. Rich (Paperback - April 19, 2007)
$11.85


Woodswoman II: Beyond Black Bear Lake
Woodswoman II: Beyond Black Bear Lake by Anne Labastille (Paperback - May 17, 2000)
$14.34
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.