Review: Naked in Eden by Robin Easton
Title: Naked in Eden: My Adventure and Awakening in the Australian Rainforest
Author: Easton, Robin
Length: 340 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography
Publisher / Year: Health Communications / 2010
To be Released: September 1st, 2010
Source: TLC Book Tours.
Why I Read It: It was pitched as biography and conservationism / environmentalism, sounded interesting.
Date Read: 02/09/10
Again, another book that I wished I liked more but really did not like at all. This time I feel especially bad because the publisher mistakenly sent me an advance review copy AND a hardcover. BUT that means good things for my readers because I will give both away down below. I actually wasn’t a fan of the book from the first page of the introduction, and had a conversation on twitter about it. It was recommended that I give it up after page 50, but I just felt so bad that I kept forcing myself to read it. After about 170 pages I started to skim, but skimmed through to the end.
Warning, much snarkiness ahead. Please, any new visitors here for BBAW, don’t judge me by this post. Or yesterday’s. I write many wonderfully positive books for the great majority of books which I love. This one, I just didn’t love. At all.
Now, I feel bad because I’m being so negative, but it really just was not for me. I scoffed, snorted, and rolled my eyes an awful lot. Things that caused these reactions include such events as:
Gradually, compassion calmed my racing heart, and within that calm I heard the snake’s thoughts. (pg xviii)
It continues will a conversation between her and the snake. Or:
“You know it well. You know what is wrong. You can feel it in your body, and have felt it for a very long time. Think more about your life, Robin. You will remember. Trust it.” (pg 110)
Yep, that is the trees talking to her. They have long conversations like that. She sees them too. In the sentence above the trees are teaching her that she has always been mildly autistic.
So things like that kind of had me rolling my eyes. It felt very… fake… a lot of the times. Like oh you had these marvelous long conversations with trees and animals that you remember word for word. To me it felt more like embellishment. Yes, I love nature and being in a forest is peaceful and relaxing and you can do a lot of thinking. And I wonder if she wanted to make it more interesting by instead of just her thinking, making it her talking to the trees? I don’t know. It’s her story and her world-view so I’m not going to bash it. Maybe I am one of those horrid disconnected people that she talks of in the book.
Also, parts of it really made me gag. Not because of anything physically disgusting (though some parts certainly were)… but rather as a woman and a feminist. Let me give you some examples… On page 20 she talks about when her grandmother died and how that made her realize that death was real (sorry, you only just realized that at 20?) and so life must be real too. Then she says:
Another soul reached out over great distance; I’d felt him since I was four years old. Now I had to find him or die. I’d waited my entire life for destiny to arrive. … My destiny’s name was Ian. (pg 20)
I’m sorry, barf. Your destiny is your future husband? Really? That is your only destiny in life is to marry this guy or die?!
The first day I met Ian complete recognition washed over me. I felt I had always known him. I knew he was the person I’d waited for since I was four and a half years old. … When I met Ian, my life finally became real. (pg 21)
Again, sorry, barf. Your life only became real once there was a man in it? Puh-lease woman. This is not the 1800′s. Women have lives outside of men. I don’t need a man to be my whole destiny and my whole life, and no girl should. I really dislike the message that is being given here.
The parts above I scoffed at was really just me being hesitant to accept the message that Easton is giving in this book (I agree with Ana, I don’t like the term message, but this book really does have an agenda behind it and a message it is trying to push out about the environment and our disconnect with it). The statements above about needing a man to be your destiny and feeling like life was real now that your destiny arrived… sorry, that did it for me. I couldn’t take the book seriously any more.
So overall, definitely not the book for me based on my reading preferences, but you may love it. This book does give a great love of nature, and shows a woman’s growth and healing over time as she reconnects with nature. Do give it a chance, if you think it is more your thing. Don’t listen to me Plus, a free copy, so no harm in trying it out right?
Edited to add: I wanted to mention quick, I had a similar reaction and thoughts to this book as I had to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Both just struck me as crazy out there. That book, obviously, is huge and loved by most everyone. This book, I suspect, would be equally loved by those people. Just wanted to add that grain of salt there to show that I am quite likely the lone voice out on this one (as checking the other tour stops shows).
As I mention above, I am giving away my copies to two readers. Simply leave a comment mentioning why you want to read the book. The giveaway will be open until 12pm AST on Friday, September 24th and is open worldwide. I only ask that you provide a review of the book on your site, or a guest review here.
Thank you very much to Trish and TLC Book Tours for giving me the chance to review this book. I’m sorry I didn’t like it more. Do check out some of these other stops on the tour, for full tour information here.