Book Review: Girl in the Woods by Aspen Matis

Girl in the Woods (428x648)About Girl in the Woods

 Hardcover: 384 pages
 Publisher: William Morrow (September 8, 2015)

In 2008, Aspen Matis left behind her quaint Massachusetts town for a school two thousand miles away. Eager to escape her childhood as the sheltered baby girl of her family, Aspen wanted to reinvent herself at college. She hoped that far from home she’d meet friends who hadn’t known her high school meekness; she would explore thrilling newfound freedom, blossom, and become a confident adult. But on her second night on campus, all those hopes were obliterated when Aspen was raped by a fellow student.

The academic year commenced; Aspen felt alone now, devastated. She stumbled through her first college semester. Her otherwise loving and supportive parents discouraged her from speaking of the attack; her university’s “conflict mediation” process for handling sexual assaults was callous—then ineffectual. Aspen was confused, ashamed, and uncertain about how to deal with a problem that has—disturbingly—become common at institutions of higher learning throughout the country. Her desperation growing, she made a bold decision: she fled. She dropped out and sought healing in the freedom of the wild, on the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail leading from Mexico to Canada.

In this important and inspiring memoir, Aspen chronicles an ambitious five-month trek that was as dangerous as it was transformative. Forced to survive on her own for the first time, squarely facing her trauma and childhood, she came to realize that the rape was not the only shameful burden she carried with her as she walked. She found herself on a new expedition: to confront—and overcome—the confines that had bound her since long before her second night at college.

A nineteen-year-old girl alone and adrift, Aspen conquered desolate mountain passes and met rattlesnakes, bears, and fellow desert pilgrims. Among the snowcaps and the forests of America’s West, she found the confidence that had eluded her all her life. After a thousand miles of solitude, she met a man who helped her learn to love, trust, and heal. Then from the endless woods she blazed a new path to the future she wanted—and reclaimed it.

What emerges is an unflinching portrait of a girl in the aftermath of rape. Told with elegance and suspense,Girl in the Woods is a beautifully rendered story of emotional and physical boundaries eroding to reveal the truths that lie beyond the edges of the map.

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Good morning everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Girl in the Woods by Aspen Matis. I would like to send a HUGE thank you to the author and to TLC Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book! **Note: Due to an oversight on my end I am posting this late, I was scheduled to post yesterday but for some reason I mixed up my dates and thought today was the 11th. This month has been a confusing month for me for some reason but I am back on track!

Girl in the Woods is a memoir, and we all know that I love a good memoir but it’s even better when it’s a GREAT memoir. It is about a young girl who is starting her first year in college, determined to shed her past life and gain independence and a sense of self. When she is raped on her second night of college, she understandably loses herself and after much thought, planning and soul searching decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the border of Mexico to Canada with nothing but the clothes on her back and a knapsack of bare, and I mean bare essentials to find herself again.

I LOVED this memoir. It was beautifully written. The author definitely has a style of writing that is so wonderfully descriptive that it transports you to a different time and place. Throughout the book I felt like I was there with her feeling the heat of the sun on my head, feeling her fears, insecurities and also her exhilaration and hope. I love that she found herself and came into her own by doing something she had been drawn to since she was a child. Of course it was difficult to read about the pain and inner turmoil she went through in the aftermath of her sexual assault but it was also beautiful to experience her becoming herself, becoming independent and finding strength in herself. If there was one word I would use to describe the author and this story it would definitely be BRAVE. This was beautiful. Five stars! I eagerly await more from this author whether it is nonfiction or fiction!

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Aspen Matis author photoAbout Aspen Matis

Aspen Matis is a writer living in Greenwich Village, where she’s finishing her degree at The New School and working on a novel.

Connect with Aspen on Facebook and follow her on Instagram.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Girl in the Woods by Aspen Matis

  1. Pingback: Aspen Matis, author of Girl In The Woods, on tour September 2015 | TLC Book Tours

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