Into That Forest – Louis Nowra

“Me name be Hannah O’Brien and I be seventy-six years old. Me first thing is an apology – me language is bad cos I lost it and had to learn it again. But here’s me story and I be glad to tell it before I hop the twig.”

Hannah and Becky were on a trip, a boat trip for a picnic, with Hannah’s parents. When a storm brews and they try to make their way home tragedy strikes, a tree falls on the boat and Hannah’s parents are lost. Six and seven years old the two girls are scared and alone. When a tiger seems to want to help they follow it into the bush. The tiger leads them to its lair and soon they learn to read what the tiger and her mate are trying to say. The girls are cared for, with the tigers cuddling up to them to keep them warm. For the next four years the girls live like tigers, they lose their language and walk on all fours. But what happened to Hannah’s parents and is Becky’s father still holding hope that his daughter will return? This is Hannah’s story and it’s one not to be missed.

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This book is an emotional journey, following two girls who get lost in the Australian bush and are taken care of by tigers. When it arrived unexpectedly I wasn’t sure it was my kind of thing but now I’ve read it I know I would have missed out by not reading.

The story is just incredible. The language makes it flow in a strange way but one that’s actually quite easy to follow. There is an air of innocence, despite the narrator being old when she is telling the story, because of the age of the characters. The tigers are never scary and because they protect the girls from other predators the girls soon learn to trust them. I was impressed by the contrast between Hannah and Becky as Hannah was perfectly happy to conform to the way of the tigers whereas Becky wanted to keep her human ways.

I wasn’t expecting for the girls to be put back into society as early as they were, obviously I knew it happened as Hannah had re-learnt how to speak, but I liked that it gave another side of their story and where things went from there took the story in an interesting direction.

Into That Forest was a fantastic, emotional journey and is a perfect adventure for children, there are some expletives which I was a bit shock at as I thought the audience was towards the middle grade area but I think with an adult reading to children and perhaps adapting that language this book would be great for younger readers too. The press release said it would be a great read for fans of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and The Life of Pi and I cannot help but agree, this is a must read in my opinion!

Into That Forest was published on 7th January by Egmont. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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  • This book looks really good! And I love Life of Pi… I should check it out.

  • I have this one on my to be read shelf. Sounds interesting, I should really get to it soon!