Reviews for Out of the Woods : A Memoir of Wayfinding

Booklist Reviews 2013 November #2
The carefully constructed home Darling had created in her Manhattan apartment began to fall apart when her husband died. When their only child left for college, and the nest emptied completely, Darling knew she had to reinvent or rediscover herself lest she succumb to the cumulative grief of both events. She abandoned the verve and bustle of New York for the pervasive solitude of Vermont, buying a remote backwoods cabin that could only generously be called rustic. Darling discovers that what she doesn't know about rural life is nearly eclipsed by what she doesn't know about herself, yet her determination to learn not only how to live but how to survive is a project she embraces with a journalist's passion for truth and fact-finding. Along with unrelenting loneliness and unyielding Yankee stoicism, Darling also confronts her own mortality when she is diagnosed with breast cancer. Darling has written a fierce and forthright chronicle of one formidable woman's courageous journey of healing and revelation, gratitude and resilience. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 November #2
One woman's melancholic search for herself amid the woods of Vermont. Darling (Necessary Sins, 2007) takes readers on a slow journey of self-discovery, chronicling how she learned the ins and outs of living in rural Vermont. Once her daughter had started college, the apartment they shared in New York City after Darling's husband had died seemed too full of past memories. The author was ready to try her hand at a new adventure: "I would move to Vermont, to the little house I bought. I would buy a dog and live in the country. I would reinvent myself, a woman alone, solitary and self-contained." With that spirit, Darling packed up some belongings and moved to a small, owner-built, somewhat funky house tucked into the woods. Alone and dependent on her own resourcefulness, the author had to learn to navigate the tricky solar-power system and cranky generator, the mice in the ceiling and the collapsing roof on the woodshed. But she was stuck in limbo, unable to unpack, unable to write, unable to face the task of doing, so she ventured outdoors instead. The forest around her was an alien and unreadable landscape, as foreign as the woman she was trying to discover in herself. She stuck to the known paths while the narrow deer trails beckoned to her, egging her on to venture past the safe and narrow roadways. A routine doctor's visit and the unexpected diagnosis of cancer quickly catapulted Darling into foreign territory. From that point, she slowly and methodically discovered her route back to health and self-awareness. Haunting and lyrical, Darling's journey through unknown forests, both physical and emotional, resonates with longings, hopes, fears and a stalwart courage to conquer them all. Evocative ruminations on getting older and discovering the links between nature and self. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 November #1

In a radiant, brave memoir, Darling, a journalist and memoirist (Necessary Sins), recalls a difficult time shortly after her daughter goes off to college and Darling moves from New York City to the remote woods of Woodstock, Vt. A widow in her mid-'50s, Darling finds the woods around her small, eclectic house at the end of the road inviting yet frightening, and soon learns how "directionally challenged" she is--thus vulnerable. Having fled her life in the city out of a sense of failure and shame, she admits that she no longer knows what map of her life . She turns to a point by point "metaphysical" to-do list, including "get sense of direction; find authentic way to live; figure out how to be old; deal with sex; learn Latin." With her companion a yellow Lab puppy she named Henry, and occasionally help from wilderness experts--or a compass and a map--Darling embarks on a clarifying journey of self-navigation. Despite being sidetracked by cancer and a year of grueling treatments, which she endured largely alone, she gradually finds her moorings, emerging from this dark spell with a profound and grateful understanding of what it means to take responsibility for yourself. (Jan.)

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