Read It: Girl In The Woods by Aspen Matis

I received this book as a gift from Owen for Christmas a year or so ago. Because it was from him, I really wanted to love this book. I wanted it to be a favorite.

The story seems pretty simple. Girl gets raped in college. Girl needs to heal and find herself again. Girls sets out on an incredible 2,650 mile journey along the Pacific Coast Trail to achieve this.

The book however is anything but simple. At times it was confusing, repetitive and honestly hard to believe. I felt more like I was reading a work of fiction that was loosely based on real events, than a memoir.

The author, Aspen Matis, is very unlikeable. She acts completely helpless for much of the book, and keeps making stupid mistakes that endanger her life. She refers to her “Mommy” often and the obnoxious dependance she had on her until she went to college.

Her stance towards men is bizarre and utterly confusing. She was raped and doesn’t trust men, which seems like it would be understandable. Yet, she spends most of the book searching for a man to be her partner. She wants them to desire her, yet she doesn’t want sexual interaction. It seems extremely childish.

I took some time to read about the author before I read the book. Although she was married – her husband left her. Strangely, he went to a funeral and never returned. He disappeared without contact for more than a month.

Oddly, in her memoir, she references a short story that is her favorite. It is bizarre, and hard to believe that one of her favorite short stories – Galatea – has nearly identical events that occur. According to Matis, the husband in this short story disappears into the woods and doesn’t come back.

There were parts of this book that were very interesting, but over all i found it to be a confusing mess. I did not hate it, but it left me wondering how much truth is actually in this book, and how much was generated from an overactive imagination.

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