Rated of 5
by Kristen H. (Baltimore, MD)
Into the woods
I had high expectations for the book based on the preliminary reviews I'd read, so perhaps it isn't surprising that I was disappointed, although I was glad to have read it in the end.
The story was weirdly Shakespearean, and there were enough references to old English that it was clear that this was intentional. Think one of the bloodier stories - Hamlet or Macbeth, maybe, without any of the wry humour that underlies those tragedies. It also had a touch of the Ancient Greek plays (especially with the use of the chorus) - Medea, maybe - without the character development.
The characters were unconvincing and un-nuanced, and many of the plot points felt forced or contrived. What made the story worthwhile, however, was the sub-story of the development of the National Park System, which is timely with the upcoming Ken Burns film on the subject, as well as the approaching NPS centennial in 2016. The presentation of the logging communities and the rape of the forests is in sharp contrast with the maneuvering land-grab that protected the lands into one of the most cherished parks in the system.
Flawed, but worthwhile.