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Better Than Wild!!!

Babe in the Woods: Building a Life One Log at a Time - Yvonne Wakefield

Within the first couple of chapters of this book, you may find yourself comparing the author to Cheryl Strayed, she of the book Wild. But, while both are women on a journey of self-discovery, I think that is where the comparison ends. But more about that later.
The author, by all rights, should be one of those lost souls that we see begging on street corners, or camped out under a bridge underpass. She had so many strikes against her in her early life, that it is amazing to see her resilience in bouncing back and becoming a wonderful author.
Orphaned at a young age, quite traumatically, Wakefield and her siblings were passed from relative to relative, who siphoned off the children's trust fund the best they could. After these "family" members were caught, the siblings were split up and sent off to foster care. There, from what I can surmise, Wakefield was sexually abused, and turned out again, this time to live in undesirable conditions and forced to make it on her own.
Despite all these setbacks, (and the substance abuse that came with them), the author keeps her eye on her future dream of owning a piece of land and building a cabin on it. Taking what little was left of her trust, she trundles off to Oregon, buying an undeveloped piece of land in the wilderness and starting her cabin. I think that I have never seen someone more unprepared to do this than the author. Her unflinching chronicles of the mistakes she made is breathtaking. How she survived is beyond me. BUT....she never once gave up, teaching herself what she needed to know by reading old books, and enlisting the help of friends she made along the way. And what friends! She is fantastic at describing the quirks and foibles of the people who help her, and learns the lesson that almost everyone, whatever walk of life they come from, is willing to help given a little kindness and respect in turn.
The author's descriptions of the land around her, the weather, the items she uses to build the cabin, and of the people are great. She really has a way of making you feel what she is feeling, and see what she was seeing. It's a rare gift that not many authors have.
In the beginning of the review, I mentioned the uber-popular Cheryl Strayed book, Wild. This book could be compared to that, being about a young woman on a journey of self-discovery and the setbacks faced on that path, except for one thing. Strayed comes across as a brash, somewhat unlikeable person, who seems to be out for herself. Wakefield is a totally likeable person, who you cannot help but want to help and see good things come to. I think the friends she made during the book also saw this, and is why they were so willing to help her. She really does seem like a rare individual.
This book is the first of a planned trilogy, and I for one cannot wait to read the next ones. In the interest of full disclosure, I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. And, in this case, my review cannot do the book justice!