Second Nature by Alice Hoffman

second nature

This beautiful, sorrowful book tells the story of a man raised by wolves, and the woman that rescues him when he’s taken into the mental health system.

Robin is still reeling from her split from her philandering cop husband and starting over with her teenage son in their home town, when she happens one day to be at the mental health facility where her brother works. The whole town has heard about the Wolf Man, a wild creature who was brought in after being found with his foot shattered in a hunters trap, with rumours abounding about him, but his simple and direct plea for help to Robin melt her heart. Without thinking, she takes him home.

Though Stephen starts to learn about normal life, he never loses his longing for his home and the wolf pack. His innate wildness mean that when strange things start to happen in the town, and his identity is revealed, he’s the target of people believing he’s a werewolf.

But the book is also about the way that his moral and wild heart reminds everyone he comes into contact with of the important things in life. Stuart, Robins brother, slowly learns to relax and connect with things. And Robin learns how to trust and to love again.

But with a heart this wild and free, does Stephen really belong in the small town? His feelings for Robin hold him, but the forest and his wolf pack call to him.

It’s a great book, about how disconnected modern life can be, about how beautiful nature is, and how easily a stranger can become a scapegoat. It’s partly a love story, but also a tale of crimes committed in the small town, and what it means to be human.

Read It If: you’ve ever wanted to live alone in the woods or howl at the moon.

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