Out of the Woods: A Memoir of Wayfinding

Lynn Darling. HarperCollins, $25.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-171024-7
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.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/2013
Release date: 01/01/2014
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-06-171023-0
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-219921-8
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