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Woodswoman II: Beyond Black Bear Lake Paperback – May 17, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

An eloquent, witty, and inspirational volume. -- Booklist

About the Author

Anne LaBastille is the author of nine books, including Woodswoman and Woodswoman III.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (May 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393320596
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393320596
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #475,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Marty From SF HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 13, 2001
This second installment of the 'Woodswoman' trilogy is a step up in maturity for Dr. LaBastille. "Woodswoman" (one), dealt largely with the purchase of land and the building of a dream cabin on a remote lake. This books becomes more real, as Dr. LaBastille begins to have to worry about trespassing intruders, acid rain and the real threat that the government can pose in this unique environment. Determined not to let these new problems destroy her outlook or her life, Dr. LaBastille begins to build a second cabin - further into the wilderness. Encompassing both the new thrill of building a more isloated respite along with some freinds, brings another insight into Anne LaBastille's life ten years later. Numerous elderly Adirondack guides become great friends, sharing their own stories of the wilderness. A new romance evolves and the author has to deal with the reality of having to deal with both worlds. This book speaks not only of the wilderness, but the grand people that make and keep it unique. Of course, Dr. LaBastille's dogs are always given star treatment and her love of these animals is heartfelt. More refined and a little less naive, this second 'woodswoman' book will break and warm your heart at the same time.
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Woodswoman II is the continuing biography of author Anne LaBastille, who found peace and solitude in the log cabin she built for herself at Black Bear Lake, in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York. This is the engaging, compelling, sometimes inspiring story of how Anne decided to retreat a half-mile father into the wilderness behind her main cabin and build a second, tiny cabin (fashioned after the one in Thoreau's "Walden") in which she could write and contemplate. Woodswoman II focuses on her renewed bond with nature, her companionship with two German shepherd dogs; and her sustained and sustaining relationship with a man fully as independent as herself. Highly recommended reading for anyone who has ever contemplating leaving the stress of urban life behind for the contemplative isolation of the wilderness.
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Another good read from Anne LaBastille, but the schtick is starting to wear a little thin. I loved Ms. B's first book, and was looking forward to this second installment.

Don't get me wrong - I liked it enough, and I finished it with no problems. Anne's adventures start to wear a little thin after the excellent first book though ("Woodswoman"). She builds a second cabin, animals die, she hurts herself, she meets a man, etc. It its details, it is really very much like the first book, only a little more old-hat, and a little more preachy. However, if you are interested in following the author's story, it is of course, just what the doctor ordered. I find it a bit braggy, and a bit of a bore now and then.

The book bills itself as "her decision to retreat further," which I certainly do not find to be the case. In fact, it is more like "her decision to retreat less."
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My last page read in Woodswoman: Living Alone in the Adirondack Wilderness, I immediately picked up Woodswoman II: Beyond Black Bear Lake. This hasn't been a story I've wanted to put down. Anne LaBastille's ongoing autobiography has followed lines too closely to my "retirement" plans north to upper Michigan for me to miss, and I have found inspiration, motivation, and quite a bit of education, and not a little forewarning in reading about her experiences as a woman living alone in the woods.

This second in a series does a quick recap of how LaBastille's adventure began. After a divorce, LaBastille decided to build her own cabin in the Adirondack wilderness, making her living as a freelance writer and ecologist. This book begins with her growing problem with intruders and overly ardent fans. With several books by now published, many articles, and an increasing number of academic lectures and speaking tours, her need for solitude and seclusion is coming under (mostly) friendly attack. Fan mail comes by the bag full, phone calls await at a neighboring camp (LaBastille's cabin has no electricity and no phone line), and a stunning number of fans search her out in the woods, even though she has carefully avoided naming her exact location, using fictional names for landmarks and lakes. Some pursue her for years until tracking her down. LaBastille is horrified, and eventually forced into building a second, more remote cabin that she calls Thoreau II, crediting Henry David Thoreau of Walden Pond.

"What do such visitors and callers hope to find when they search out the Woodswoman? I still don't know exactly, but I'm sure America is lonely. Americans are looking for identities. They want to attach themselves to authors, singers, actors, and TV stars. These searchers have fantasies.
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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.
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