Author: Aspen Matis
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: September 8, 2015
Source: TLC Book Tours
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Girl in the Woods is Aspen Matis's exhilarating true-life adventure of hiking from Mexico to Canada—a coming of age story, a survival story, and a triumphant story of overcoming emotional devastation. On her second night of college, Aspen was raped by a fellow student. Overprotected by her parents who discouraged her from telling of the attack, Aspen was confused and ashamed. Dealing with a problem that has sadly become all too common on college campuses around the country, she stumbled through her first semester—a challenging time made even harder by the coldness of her college's "conflict mediation" process. Her desperation growing, she made a bold decision: She would seek healing in the freedom of the wild, on the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail leading from Mexico to Canada.
In this inspiring memoir, Aspen chronicles her journey, a five-month trek that was ambitious, dangerous, and transformative. A nineteen-year-old girl alone and lost, she conquered desolate mountain passes and met rattlesnakes, bears, and fellow desert pilgrims. Exhausted after each thirty-mile day, at times on the verge of starvation, Aspen was forced to confront her numbness, coming to terms with the sexual assault and her parents' disappointing reaction. On the trail and on her own, she found that survival is predicated on persistent self-reliance. She found her strength. After a thousand miles of solitude, she found a man who helped her learn to love and trust again—and heal.
Told with elegance and suspense, Girl in the Woods is a beautifully rendered story of eroding emotional and physical boundaries to reveal the truths that lie beyond the edges of the map."
My Two Cents:
"Girl in the Woods" is a memoir by Aspen Mattis, a girl who decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail by herself after she is raped on the second day at college. Her rape sends her into a tailspin, which is easily understandable. She feels like there has to be something that she can do it in order to feel like herself and feel safe again. She decides that a trip on the PCT it is the best way to do that. I love hiking but the thought of hiking that much is incredibly daunting to me. Aspen goes into a lot of detail about the reasons that she decided that it was best for her to step away from college and try to hike from Mexico all the way up to Canada. This is a story about picking up the pieces and finding yourself.
I love memoirs especially when they are written by people who do things that I could never never fathom doing in my own life. I love to live vicariously through those authors. This is definitely one of those books where you do live vicariously through the author because they give so much detail about everything that they have to face on this journey. This book in a lot of ways reminded me of "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed, another one of my favorite books. Aspen is definitely running from a lot of different things when she takes on her hike but the hike helps her come to terms with some of the more difficult things she had to face in her short time at college. I liked how honest she was with the reader. You feel as if you are reading somebody that you know's innermost thoughts and they are holding nothing back.
This is definitely an extreme version of someone trying to find themselves and I don't think that the way that Aspen does it is necessarily going to be for everyone but this is such an important book for anyone who has gone through something where they think that they're never going to recover. I read it very quickly because I could not tear myself away from the pages. This was a great memoir and I definitely recommend it to readers looking for a good adventure story and a story of redemption!