Friday, March 19, 2004

Second Nature by Alice Hoffman

Book Review: Second Nature: "In Alice Hoffman's 10th novel Second Nature Robin Moore is a divorced woman living on an island with her 16-year-old son Connor. Nothing is going right in her job as a landscape artist. Everything she touches seems to die.
Then one day while visiting her brother Stuart, a psychiatrist in New York City, she sees a man shivering on a bench. Hearing his plea, 'don't let them take me noplace,' Robin impulsively snatches him out of the jaws of danger and takes him home with her. Stephen, called the Wolf Man in the hospital, was three-and-one-half years old when his parents died in a plane crash in the Michigan wilderness. He was raised by a pack of wolves. Although this former feral child still recalls running free with his four-footed brothers, he is intrigued by his new life with Robin and her son. They tell neighbors he is a foreign exchange student studying horticulture.
In the spirit of Alice Hoffman's other novels, Second Nature has the vivid textures of a mesmerizing dream. This author's adult fairy tales draw us into the moist magic of mystery, passion, fear, and dread. Here we encounter the wild as something more than dark, ferocious, and dangerous. Stephen is capable of romantic feeling and caring for others. In addition, the Wolf Man helps Robin and Connor get in touch with unopened rooms inside themselves.
There are several poetic scenes where Hoffman builds bridges to the animal kingdom and holds up a mirror so we can see our own bestial nature. In these scenes, a shiver of strangeness signals the startling originality of her writing. Second Nature is a remarkable novel."

I really liked the book. I enjoyed it till the end and i couldn't put the book away. I had to read more as soon as I could.
I do have some regret about the overall impression though: now that it's finish I feel like things are missing in this book. I'm thinking for example of the dialogs. I would have liked to hear Stephen more than we do. ok, maybe it is very quiet but he has so much to say! It's also maybe because when I read in English, I enjoy dialogs more than in French as it's easier to understand. I appreciate the numerous reference to nature in the book, even if I certainly not understood everything!
And I wouldn't have seen Roy come back. By the way, we can notice that the 2 main couples who are not anymore, are having a second chance at the end of the movie... How optimist :-)... "Happily" Connor and Lydia doesn't end up together though they were so confident of themselves!
after a few reflexion, I just think it was nice to read as I enjoyed it very much but not a real good book who leaves unforgettable feelings :-)

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