Rich, Louise Dickinson. We Took to the Woods. Kingsport: Kingsport Press, 1942.
I love it when a book is so fun to read you don’t notice the time. You simply start reading and suddenly it’s three hours later and you are practically finished with the entire thing. Such is the case with We Took to the Woods. Rich is a fantastic storyteller. What makes her story even more appealing is the fact it’s a true story (complete with photographs) and Rich has a great sense of humor. Maine humor, if you will. It’s a great combination.
Probably the most fascinating element to We Took to the Woods is how current it is 70 years after being published. You can read about living in a cabin deep in the woods of Maine today and find it eerily similar to how Rich described it back then. A simple way of life is a simple way of life. I guess you could say simplicity barely changes. Rich divides her chapters into the most frequently asked questions she has had to answer over the years: “But how do you make a living?” “Aren’t you ever frightened?” and “Do you get out very often?” to name a few. It’s as if she wrote the book to shut people up about her unique lifestyle, living in the far Northern section of Maine in the middle of nowhere.
Favorite lines (and there were a few of them): “I see no point in being modest about the things you know you do well” (p 47), “You can neither remodel nor ignore a thing as big as winter” (p 62), and “It’s unreasonable, I know; but some fears lie beyond reason” (p 76). Here are two that illustrate her sense of humor: ” I can also run my household as badly as I please, and our house guests can sun-bathe in the altogether without hindrance” (p 307) and “I find her very tiresome at close range, but at a distance I rather admire her spirit” (p 307-308).
AS an aside – Rich writes about the hurricane of 1938 and how it felled enough trees to make a giant log jam. I find it interesting I am also reading about another natural disaster, the blizzard of 1978 – forty years later.
Reason read: We Took to the Woods takes place in Maine. Maine has an annual lobster festival in Rockland every August. A coastal celebration is enough reason to read about the Rangeley woods.
Author Fact: Louise Dickinson Rich didn’t start off as a writer. She was a teacher first, but always wanted to write a book. I’m glad she did.
Book Trivia: We Took to the Woods was Rich’s first book. She went on to write another one that has been on my bookshelf for years.
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “The Maine Chance” (p 135).
postscript~ I doubt I will forget We Took to the Woods anytime soon. Coincidentally, it is the book I chose to read aloud to Cassidy when she went missing her first night in the woods.