Arts & CultureCultural Affairs

Book Review: Girl in the Woods

Written by: Aspen Matis
Published by: William Morrow

Aspen Matis undergoes a traumatic event that occurs far more than is openly spoken of as she was sexually assaulted on her second night in college. This is a very real fear for women in today’s society and Matis’ memoir sheds some light on how truly difficult recovery can be when it is too often glazed over. Matis does not write this as a trauma story but as an incredible success story that empowers people to find their own way of bursting through the wall that is their insecurities and breathe fresh air on the other side.

Any university student can pick up this memoir and instantly connect to Matis’ thoughts and fears as a first year. Not only do readers gain a sense of how Matis deals with the events she goes through but there is also an interesting view of how others perceive her story. She encounters someone on her hike that is ignorant of her past and her feelings who makes very unexpected comments. As a reader you become aware of how this issue is poorly understood by so many and you feel the same tightening as Matis when she reveals, “[my] shame was unearthed, alive. The tightening in my chest, the wish to fade away like a shadow in diffused light.”

Matis has this incredible ability to cause you to be sucked into her mind and you understand her every thought. Her rational and train of thought through each and every experience allows you to live what she lived even if you have nothing to base these experiences on in your own life. The connection you feel to Matis is powerful as you go through her journey of self-discovery. She was scared, as she says several times but Matis explains her process and how her fear and her “recklessness became [her] salvation.”

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