Saturday, July 26, 2008

"In the Woods"

For the past week, I've literally been 'in the woods' camping with my family while reading a book called "In the Woods" by Tana French. I finished the 429 page book in four days, meaning it was one of those books that you couldn't put down because you HAD to know what happens next. It is a murder mystery book about a man named Adam whose friends mysteriously disappear when he was 12 years old while they were all playing in the woods. The police find Adam facing a tree with his fingernails broken off and dug into the tree with his shoes filled with blood and he cannot remember what happened. This man grows up to be a detective and at the peak of his career, a little girl is murdered in the same woods his friends disappeared in. He goes about trying to solve the murder while dealing with his own past. The beginning and middle were amazing, and like I said I couldn't put it down. However, the end was, to my surprise, very disappointing and unsatisfying.


The only thing I found semi-satisfy was that the murder case of the little girl was solved. Adam pulled through and figured it out after a few weeks. It is always subconsciously satisfying to know justice was served. However, in this case, good did not prevail over evil. The murderer of the little girl was as harmless as you or I; he was brainwashed by a psychopath. The psychopath, named Rosalind, was jealous and thought her sister was getting too much attention. So she found a frail, incompetent man to prey upon. He fell in love with her while she fed off this attention like an animal, and convinced him to kill her unsuspecting, gullible sister. And to boot, Rosalind got away with it. In the end, she was nothing more than a prim, pretty girl. I guess it is an original ending that wasn't suspected and it is just fiction. But there is that nagging, uncomfortable, angry feeling in the back of my mind that I can't shake. Things like that more than likely happen in real life and it's terrible.

That was only the beginning of what I found disappointing. The other part had nothing to do with the murder case. It had to do with the detective's love life. Before the girl was murdered, a woman named Cassie joined the murder squad and the two became best friends. I can't begin to explain how close they were because only French does their relationship justice. He spends a lot of time developing their relationship through little details and intricate feelings. But, with all those little details, unraveled a complicated relationship. They were perfectly content being just good friends through most of the book until the murder case got to Adam. He ended up kissing Cassie and that was the breaking point. He made things weird between them and their relationship was completely ruined. He avoided her, didn't talk to her, wouldn't tease her or touch her like before. He ended up confused and lonely, still in love with Cassie, while she felt dejected and turned to another detective and fell in love with him. All he could do was stand aside and let her go. He made one final drunken, pitiful try by calling her and saying 'I love you. Are you really gonna marry this boring guy?' and all she did was say 'I think you have the wrong number.'

It's sad how this works in life too. Something gets in the way and messes everything up. The guy is too afraid to commit and let something good come into his life. The girl gets hurt and has to start over, each time a little wearier and broken. I hear it all the time, "All the good guys are taken already." Yeah, that's because those guys aren't the scared (excuse my language) pussies that float around from girl to girl living unsatisfying, but don't care because they don't have the balls to be with that one girl. It's sad how many relationships get ruined because of the miscommunication and misunderstandings between the sexes. However, I guess it's like in nature, only the strong survive. So, if there is true love between two people, nothing can ruin it and only the strong relationships will survive and last forever. It's all part of the plan. However, it doesn't make it any less disappointing to see what seems like a perfect relationship break down and go to pieces.

The last part I found disappointing was that Adam never solved his own childhood mystery. He tried throughout the book and French gave broken, weird hints as to what happened, but it was never concluded. It left they mystery to the imagination, yet, French didn't give enough to let your imagination run with it. He made it seem like the disappearances weren't caused by a human and that contradicts the whole theme of his story. It seemed like French thought he would figure out what would happen as he was writing the book and kept adding bits, but in the end, he couldn't figure out what happened either. He left it a tangled mess that made me drop my jaw in frustration.

However, it really was a page turner and well-written. French described the relationships of all the characters better than I think I could describe my own relationships in life. They were real and I felt like the characters jumped off the pages. I actually had dreams about the characters and I found myself very attached to them. Maybe that's why I wanted Adam to be happy and let himself fall in love with Cassie. I know what it's like to have a relationship like that and I wanted that for him too. Overall though, it was a great book and if I had to go back in time, I would choose to read it all over again.

SONG OF THE DAY: Gordon Lightfoot-Cotton Jenny
Today's Scripture: “This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24)


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