Five millennials try to live off the grid with horrible results in We Went to the Woods.
Mack has a secret that caused her to be unemployed and shunned by the world. When she meets Louisa at a high society fundraising party as a bartender, she meets Louisa’s friends, Chloe, Beau, and Jack. She also buys into Louisa’s plan for the group to move to upstate New York and live off the land. Unfortunately, the romantic picture by Thoreau doesn’t work as they expected. Sexual tensions and rivalries, lack of farming/survival skills, and headstrong roommates cause the drama here.
I enjoyed the build-up to the group’s arrival at the Homestead. However, I really couldn’t get past three things. First, I didn’t like or care what happened to any of the characters. Second, you knew from the beginning something “horrible” was going to happen because of heavy foreshadowing rather than building up suspense to naturally lead the reader to that knowledge. Finally, it seemed full of stereotypical rich spoiled millennials. Couldn’t they have put one person who wasn’t such a dick in the story? Someone to root for? I didn’t see anyone like that throughout this novel. If it bothers me, a baby boomer, I could see it being perceived even more negatively by real millennials.
While I didn’t enjoy We Went to the Woods as a thriller because it didn’t have the correct pacing, it may be acceptable to some readers as literary fiction. The discussions of the history of communes and living off the land was interesting. However, I think it is a difficult read if you need to like or identify with a novel’s characters. Overall, a 3 star read for me.
Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.