Other Sellers on Amazon
Girl in the Woods: A Memoir Paperback – June 14, 2016
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
“Brave and poetic. Aspen Matis is one of the few genetic writers.” -- Ben Folds, frontman of Ben Folds Five
“A lovely tribute to the healing power of wilderness.” -- Nicholas Kristof, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
“This is a very brave book―because there is an open wound in Girl in the Woods, and it never really closes. It becomes a new organ―of doubt, questioning―that remakes both the body and the mind.” -- Greil Marcus, Rolling Stone rock critic and New York Times bestselling author
“Aspen Matis reveals wisdoms that are gems―bright and inspiring. This book will astonish you.” -- Shelly Oria, author of New York 1, Tel Aviv 0
“Soulful, heartfelt, and transcendent. Girl in the Woods teaches us that writing is a way to heal, empower ourselves, and turn our worst experiences into beautiful art.” -- Kenan Trebincevic, author of The Bosnia List
Mercy. I love this story. -- Cheryl Strayed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wild
“Girl in the Woods is a breathtaking, gorgeous and profoundly wise book. I cried my way through it. Every young woman, old woman, man and boy should read it.” -- Bonnie Nadzam, author of Lamb, winner of the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize
“A mesmerizing journey from tragedy to triumph. Aspen shows us how any girl―even the once lost and disempowered―can transform herself and become the director of her own life.” -- Caity Lotz, actress, award-winning AMC show Mad Men
“Told with exceptional beauty and extraordinary confidence. Matis is a once-in-a-generation talent.” -- Bryan Hurt, author of Everyone Wants to Be an Ambassador to France
“Compelling and intense... should be essential reading in dorm rooms across the country.” -- Interview Magazine
“Gripping...a must-read.” -- Cosmopolitan
“Matis writes vividly of the culture of the PCT―the special treats the locals put out for hikers to find, called ‘trail magic,’ or the ‘trail angels’ who host hikers in small towns along the way―and she is bold in her willingness to expose her psychic wounds.” -- Kirkus Reviews
“Engrossing...suspenseful....rewarding.” -- Booklist
“A brave book by a brave wild child writer. Matis’s journey is more than a riveting trip up the Pacific Crest Trail, it’s a story of a young woman who won’t let anything -be it rattlesnakes or ignorance about the trauma of rape-stop her from rediscovering her own power.” -- Leigh Newman, author of Still Points North
“…Rebirth is palpable.” -- Library Journal
“An important book of hope and healing.” -- Abby Sher, author of Amen, Amen, Amen
“With the pacing of a page-turning novel, Matis has written an emotionally honest, poignant and poetic debut memoir.” -- Alice Feiring, author of The Battle for Wine and Love
“Girl In The Woods is eminently compelling, and taken as a whole is a valuable portrait of an actual human’s experience that hides in a rape statistic.” -- AV Club
“[An] excellent memoir.” -- Dover Post
“...a triumphant journey that ELLE readers found “beautifully written,” gripping,” and “brave.” -- Elle
“...a story about the power to overcome a crippling emotional trauma...” -- Pop Sugar
“...a bold story of a woman finding her strength and self-reliance that’s told with honesty and intensity.” -- Bust Magazine
“Matis writes with a rawness that refuses to hold back...filled with small moments of awe...I was struck by how far she had come…she seemed years more mature than the young woman at the start of the journey. Girl in the Woods is a touching memoir that...unleashes clarity.” -- Ms. magazine
About the Author
Aspen Matis is a writer living in Greenwich Village, where she's finishing her degree at The New School and working on a novel.
- Publisher : William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (June 14, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062291076
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062291073
- Item Weight : 11.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.93 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #404,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I started out empathizing a lot with our narrator. Her mother sounds like classic waif-type BPD. My step-mom was a witch type but I understood the stifling, unhealthy pressure that Aspen had to operate under, the damage that a lifetime from birth of being overly cocooned so you doubt your own abilities to an insane degree.
I kept turning the pages and looking for growth as she progressed along the trail and I did not find it. I find that disappointing. Aspen apparently found it in herself but what I saw was a woman hungry for male validation seek it until she found it. Did she think she was the only woman on the trail who had been raped or molested? Did she think she was the only one hurting?
Her treatment of fellow women on the trail is abhorrent. She reduces them to sexual desirability and then writes off the men who may care for them as "losers", as if everyone out there is slavish to sexual approval the way she is. It's debasing not just to the women who were on the PCT that year, it's debasing to the men who she assumed were unable to care for women outside of their sexual output. Aspen only tentatively grasped at the very end of her journey what a trail family is, but leading up she had nothing but derision, suspicion, and hatred for the women who had their own. The kindest things she said about women on the trail was when she said nothing at all. That is not the fault of those women, but the fault of Aspen.
Aspen forgives her family and it was cathartic to see that, but in the end she's still the very self-centered, overly judgmental person she started out as. Expecting everyone to shower her with empathy while providing exactly none. As beautiful as her writing is, I never got the impression that her thoughts ever strayed to the plight, feelings, and being of other people.
I am not surprised she was not welcome in the groups that form up along the trail. She started her hike a marred woman and she ended it a marred woman. She tries to present like she healed and came out stronger.. I think that's an enormous lie. Maybe in some ways she came out stronger, but she left the woods the same as she entered-- reliant upon the validation of men no matter how toxic, at the expense of other women. This is a sad book, and it's all the sadder because I don't think the author realizes how sad it is.
I want to stress the privilege that Aspen has to experience the PCT the way she does and to survive. Often it is from sheer dumb luck or the benevolence of others, but her primary privilege comes from the generosity and kindness of her parents. Yes, they didn't react in the perfect way when she told them about her rape, but they also spent thousands of dollars on her journey of self-exploration and she appears terribly ungrateful. I also find it frustrating that the end of the text focuses on Aspen changing her relationship with her parents, which is a theme that appears nearly out of thin air. Obviously they are flawed, but by drawing attention to them Aspen only highlights her flaws.
This of course brings up the point that Aspen as a character is often deeply unlikable. I began the book feeling empathetic towards her and ended it being annoyed. She makes decisions that put her in danger, speaks down to most of the folks she meets on the trail, and generally doesn't take responsibility for her actions. She places much of the blame for her problems on her mother's coddling and the trauma that she experienced, never taking accountability. As far as character development, there is some, but it wasn't really as dramatic as I would have liked. I was really hoping she would come out the end of the trail as self-reliant, responsible, mature, and aware of her privilege. I desperately wanted her to show her parents some gratitude. Apparently that was too much to ask. Additionally, while there are some moments of beautiful prose, I found the writing to reflect the writer's immaturity and inexperience.
Top reviews from other countries
Rape is the central theme: the author was raped and let down as she tried to get her world to help her to overcome the trauma: nothing helped.
Her mother mollycoddled her because she knew no different and could do no different. Her father ignored her most of the time and she resented that, as we all would.
She took a walk that could have killed her and this is the story of that walk and what it did to and for her: she grew from mollycoddled girl to independent woman.
The walk and the book are cathartic yet every step of the way there was always the feeling that she had no idea how to manage anything: clothes, food, walking ... anything. But she gets there.
There is hurt, anger and heartache in this book. Then there is redemption, revelation and love. I have to say there is a lot of repetition here: reminding us of her rape, her over bearing mother, her distant father.
Reading on kindle I added notes: well done ... You're asking for it now ... How true ...
In the end, having found her perfect man, she is living alone as the man has gone. She is strong, liberated and free and she loves her mother!
I have never felt this way before but before I bought the book and even now, I would like to meet Aspen. I walked with her all the way and I will search out her other work now but I think meeting here will always remain a dream!