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Babe in the Woods intrigued me from the first time I heard about it. I live in Oregon, not too far away from John Day, where Yvonne Wakefield starts the life she has dreamed about. As a child who was orphaned at a young age, she has had the idea of living in the mountains on her own land in her own log home. She sets off with her inheritance to achieve that dream. Along the way she meets a cast of characters who become like her family in a way.

I found the in's and out's of her process and all the experiences that she had on the mountain very interesting. It sort of just ended and I am looking forward to seeing how the story continues of Yvonne's journey. There seems like there is so much there to learn. I wish that I could have learned more about her upbringing and family, but I understand that this is her journey and she was trying to stay focused on the building of the log cabin. I can only imagine the loneliness and vulnerability she must have experienced.
bookescapest | Oct 17, 2023 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
This is a story about Yvonne Wakefield, a teenager who moved to Oregon , bought 80 acres out in the woods and went about building a log cabin from scratch with the help of a local man. Her parents were dead and she and siblings lived in foster homes. When old enough she took off on her own and ended up in Oregon. Trees were cut down from her property, stripped of bark, notched and put in place. Other locals gave advise on where to buy items she needed like where to buy a woodburning stove, buy tools and have lumber planed for floor boards . She found windows at a an abandoned mining town. She seriously injured herself several times while working on the cabin and was lucky she didn't die. Fell off ladder from braking ribs, got cut a couple times by a saw and scraped her knuckles to the bone. The closest town was John Day, Oregon population about 1700. A few of the locals became friends and helped her when she needed it the most. She became a strong woman during the construction of the cabin. ( )
flagLarryMicheli | Mar 11, 2016 | edit |
LarryMicheli | 7 outras críticas | May 23, 2017 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
Inspiring, autobiographical, coming-of-age story of a young woman brave enough to travel cross country and undertake building a log cabin outside a small farming community in central Oregon. Incredible! I hated coming to the end of the book. I want to know more! Yvonne is planning two more books in the series. Can't wait to read them.

I received a copy of this book from Librarything in exchange for a fair review.
kpossible | 7 outras críticas | Feb 6, 2017 |
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!
1Randal | 7 outras críticas | Aug 29, 2016 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
Yvonne Wakefield's early life was horrific so when she was 18 and first able to, she left Minnesota to build a log cabin by herself on newly bought land in Oregon. It's the 1970s, she's 100 lbs soaking wet and she has no wilderness skills at all. But she is tenacious and wins the goodwill of the eccentric locals and builds her cabin. This story would appeal to fans of Wild by Cheryl Strayed. However intriguing the premise, I found her prose too overwrought to be enjoyable.
amyblue | 7 outras críticas | Jun 6, 2016 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
This is a quick easy read about relationships. The story is apparently a work of non-fiction based on journal sources of the author. It begins with her decision to build a log cabin in the mountains of Oregon following the death of her parents. This was an interesting decision, considering she is only 18 years old when she finally gets access to her inheritance, she has no skills in construction at all and even has to read a book as to how to fell a tree.

You read about her relationship with her family and friends. She claims to have a concern about association with strangers but she soon learns that she needs help if the dream of building a log house on her newly bought 80 acres of raw forest is to become true. The men of John Day, Oregon come to her rescue... It starts with a cafe owner, Emery, who suggests a man, Jim that would help her build the house, then she meets another male who joins in the construction and lives with her for a while in a platonic relationship, then there are suppliers of materials and tools who more often than not go out of their way to help her. Not all males are the best as one tries to trade goods for favours and another provides less than quality goods. The former is repulsed while the latter is outed by other men but she still remains friends with him. For a woman who said she was leery of strangers she certainly puts a lot of trust in these men and for the most part she is lucky in that they turn out to WANT to help her. Her relationships with women of the town seem to be more distant. Except for the woman in the family that has a place near her's.

Other than brief descriptions of the land as she is constructing the house, she does not really talk about what attracts her to the land in detail and personally I was looking for something along that vein. She is an independent woman and seems to like it that way. The story is easy to read and apparently there is to be a followup story.
Lynxear | 7 outras críticas | Apr 28, 2016 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
Babe in the Woods is an incredibly inspiring autobiographical story of overcoming obstacles and literally building a new life. The writing is solid and, for the most part, keeps the reader engaged and interested. It does, however, read like a diary at times and certain stories that were included seem unnecessary and distracting from the purpose. The ending is a abrupt and a little disappointing as I wish she would have given us just a little more information regarding her final choices. It leaves the reader feeling a little unsatisfied at the end, but it is definitely worth a read. I feel a strong inclination to buy up a plot of land and build a cabin of my own, though I don't think I am strong enough tot actually do it.
MeganWhobrey | 7 outras críticas | Apr 26, 2016 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
On the night Yvonne's mother died, leaving her and her two younger siblings parentless, she vowed that when she was old enough she would “build a log cabin from trees on a mountain.” There she would write poetry, make art, and "everything would finally be alright." Unfortunately ensuing years saw things drift even further from alright.

Initially family members agreed to care for the three children, but it soon came to light that they were only interested in gaining control of the family business. Once the three children were no longer useful, they were abandoned and scattered into the foster care system where Yvonne suffered even more mental and physical abuse.

In spite of these hardships, she never forgot the promise she made to herself. On the day she turned eighteen she collected the money from her trust fund, pack her belongings, and set out to purchase land in Oregon. In the sleepy mountain community of John Day Oregon, Yvonne finds the perfect land. It was secluded, had a stream, and contained plenty of trees to begin building her new home.

After a quick return trip to Minnesota to tie up loose ends and sever certain ties, she returns to begin building her cabin. However, it only takes a day of work for her to realize that she’s woefully unprepared for the task of building a log cabin by hand. A feeling of hopelessness drives Yvonne into town to drown her sorrows in a cup of coffee and a couple of apple fritters.

Although she is leery of strangers, a caring diner owner breaks her defenses and encourages her to contact a local woodsmen skilled in building cabins. Over the course of building her log home, these sorts of found relationships begin to stack up around Yvonne protecting her and providing a safe, nurturing place to begin life again.

This memoir is sure to draw comparisons. The jacket copy even mentions Into the Wild and My Side of the Mountain. While I can't speak for My Side of the Mountain, I don't really think Into The Wild is an accurate comparison. The book that kept arising in my mind while reading was Cheryl Strayd’s Wild. Perhaps it was the similar stories of abuse, broken homes, parental deaths, and perseverance, but either way I think it will appeal to similar audiences. I personally found Yvonne to be a more likeable and endearing heroine. Both seemed naive about the journeys they had undertaken, but Yvonne was balanced with a sense of objective, self-awareness that was lacking in Wild.

One of the most interesting aspects of Wakefield’s writing was her use of color. You’ve probably heard the linguistic anecdote about the Inuit language having fifty different words for snow. Their closeness and experience with snow necessitates a highly nuanced way of speaking about and understanding it. The same could be said of Yvonne’s artistic background and her use of color descriptions. She creates and uses colors to describe objects, emotions, and memories in a way that no writer I’ve read has ever done.

In this colorful passage Yvonne contemplates the events, influences, and circumstances that have brought her to the backwoods in Oregon.

Now I’ve put myself out on another limb of sorts, hanging tight to the thought that I might own this spot where evergreen branches bow low. Five nights in a row I squat there beside the creek, stab stick into coals, stir up flames, and in this light continue to think about other colors that made me like,

Inheritance Grab Greed - an uneven blend of raging reds,
Foster Parent Folly - an incestuous smokey scumble of contradictory values,
I’ve been around the block - black and blue,
Are You My Mother - Hello Kitty pink,
Burnt Green Fried Tomatoes - a putrid shade of green,
And “Queen of Mean” Leona Helmsley = a piece of shit brown.

These blends cannot be bought off the shelf, squeezed from tubes, spooned from jars. They are a custom mix of dark tones, convoluted hues with names that brand all the wrong ways. The statute of limitations on these colors may have expired, but they have a shelf life all their own.

The palette to paint the portrait, Girl Sitting Around a Campfire, Stirring Coals, would include other unnatural colors never brought up in police company. And other colors too - a solid earthy mix of values reflecting the foundation laid by caring parents, even though it cracked irreparably when my father first toyed with suicide.

Like Howard Axelrod’s The Point of Vanishing, this memoir wasn’t obtuse or shallow. There is no cut and dried life lesson that Yvonne is spoon-feeding to her readers. She doesn't have any social drum to beat. She does offer a first hand descriptions of rural community, the dynamics of broken families, and life “off the grid.”

In refreshing contrast to many modern memoirs she avoids braggadocio and luridness and remains humble and private about most things. You won’t feel like you “really know” Yvonne Wakefield after reading this book. Who she is retains a great deal of mystery and intrigue. (Which is, in itself, a wonderful lesson about our relationship to fellow humans beings.) I only had one big complaint about this book and that was that the early review copy lacked photographs. I hope that the final version will include images of Yvonne's cabin, friends, and family members. I will certainly buy a copy for my bookshelf.
erlenmeyer316 | 7 outras críticas | Apr 4, 2016 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
From the preface: "This story is about my relationship with woodsy things, in a place of peace and quiet, beauty and repose--a mountainside in Oregon where I healed from a past that could have killed me had I not learned to use an ax and a chainsaw."

This is a story for anyone interested in Oregon, or modern pioneering. It is an adventure story of a young woman with a dream. The author is a very good, descriptive writer. The main character has so many different sides of her life recorded that there is some of her in all of us. She becomes an orphan. She has a dream to live alone in Oregon, to live independently and to build her own cabin on her own land. Her thoughts and conversations at different times in her memories are shared. She develops some friendships with others who help her build her cabin when she realizes that the book she read about cabin building was not enough to equip her to handle the job solo.

I enjoyed hearing about John Day and other things from Oregon state.

I would read more about this character in the future or other works by this author. This is an e-book at this time.
lyndanorth | 7 outras críticas | Mar 22, 2016 |
I’m surprised by all that I read, and then to realize that after all she went through she continued to go back year after year. I feel I got a better look into life in Kuwait, even if it was told just from her side of it. I believe there is more than one perspective to any story, and this is hers told from her experiences.One thing I admire is that no matter what happened she continued to fight for those she taught. I know, even though I am an educator, I would not have the guts to go where she went and do what she do. I believe that not only did she enrich their lives but they enriched hers.

I received a copy to help facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
1 vote
skstiles612 | Oct 18, 2014 |
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