The story is set around two sisters Eva and Nell who live in the forest in Northern California. The story is told by the younger sister, Nell who loves to read and learn and is looking forward to escaping from California and attending Harvard. Eva wants to become a ballet dancer and is gearing up for a big audition in San Fransisco.
As we learn about the family, suddenly, and unexpectedly something happens. We never know what it is that happens, other than it has caused a total collapse of the infrastructure of the country. Was it war, economic collapse . . . we have no idea, and no one seems to interested in finding out. (That part really bothered me).
The mother has died of cancer, and now the girls and the father are forced to deal with living in the forest and surviving. All kinds of challenges ensue. As the girls have to deal with the death of their father and a stranger that changes their lives forever.
There were a couple of places where the book left plausibility. The relationship between Nell and Eli just never worked. Neither did the family's last trip into town. The visit to the warehouse store was ridiculous. And the ending left you scratching your head.
In a study guide to the book it makes the comment that:
Reading Into the Forest will forever change the way you think about a teabag, a scrap of paper, a metronome, an acorn, or a chocolate kiss candy. It will forever change your thinking about dreams and days of the week.
I must not have read the same book, because after I write this and turn it back into the library, I doubt I will ever think of the book again. It did not connect with me, or really any of us in the book group.
That is not to say that it was a bad book. It was an interesting and enjoyable read and does make you think about what the world would be like if there was a catastrophic collapse. But because I live in an urban jungle and not a California Redwood forest, it did not speak to me like it might others.