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A Place In The Woods

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  310 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Helen Hoover and her husband, Adrian, were trailblazers in the American back-to-the-land movement. Well ensconced in their professional lives in Chicago, they made the decision to follow their dream of a simple existence, pulling up their stakes and plunging into the wilds of northern Minnesota.
A Place in the Woods, first published in 1969, describes how the Hoovers gradua
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by Univ Of Minnesota Press (first published May 12th 1969)
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Sep 04, 2007 Angela rated it it was amazing
Shelves: minnesota
I picked this up at least a year ago at a book sale at the church I used to work at. I finally got around to reading it on vacation in Ely.

Written in the late 1960s, A Place in the Woods is Ms. Hoover's account of the first year she and her husband spent in their new home in the north woods of Minnesota, in 1954.

I have to admit I didn't know how lovely the book was going to be. I expected it to be full of dated opinions on nature and women's roles. I was happily surprised to learn that Helen Hoo
Randall Reynolds
Nov 22, 2015 Randall Reynolds rated it it was amazing
One of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Having also owned 2 mountain homes it was as if I had written it myself! I have read it over and over through the years. I highly recommend it to anyone who has wanted to experience owning a 'cabin in the woods'. From the sound of the wind sweeping through the fir trees around your mountain home, to the treasured forest friends who come to your deck to be fed, to the plop of snow as it falls on your roof on winter's night-- Helen Hoover reveals a ...more
Feb 16, 2012 Mia rated it really liked it
I got this book many years ago as one of those Readers Digest condensed books. I loved it back then & years later I struggled trying to recall the authors name & the name of the book but it wasn't until the internet came along that I was able to find it.
With nothing more to go on except I was sure The Woods was a part of the title - I finally found it & was able to read it again. And again I found I loved this book.
Helen & her husband Adrian leave their jobs & the city to liv
Feb 18, 2014 Elinor rated it really liked it
Shelves: pioneer-memoirs
There are many books written by people who decide to pursue a lifestyle closer to nature, but rarely has there ever been a couple so inept as author Helen Hoover and her husband Adrian. They gave up their jobs in the city of Chicago, and purchased a cabin in northern Minnesota in 1954, without being aware that they needed a source of heat during the winter. I kid you not. Nevertheless, she is honest about their failings, and writes very entertainingly. The couple resided in the back woods for 16 ...more
Jun 27, 2011 Jen rated it really liked it
I picked this book because it fit the bill of my people-who-get-away-to-the-country books (a book to help me dream of joining them) but this book was actually about getting away from it ALL. Wow! Two people who worked in Chicago chucking all the mod cons to live in a summer cabin in Minnesota year 'round. A SUMMER CABIN, people. Great writing and a glimpse into an experience I would love to theory. Thank god we can read books and feel like we've done it without having to actually do i ...more
Jan 19, 2011 Dan rated it it was amazing
I love to read accounts of people who set out to live somewhere new, particularly when it is in a remote and rustic location. This account of the Hoover's moving to northern Minnesota is one of my favorites. It describes the many struggles and triumphs the author and her husband faced after leaving successful careers as engineers to live a rustic lifestyle in the north woods. I love this book and have read it several times.
Feb 24, 2011 Megan rated it it was amazing
I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did, but it was wonderfully refreshing. It doesn't pretend to be philosophical but there are some profound insights into Man's relationship with the natural world. It almost made me want to move to the Big Woods somewhere.
JoAnne Monahan
Sep 04, 2010 JoAnne Monahan rated it it was amazing
This book will have you wishing to live with someone you love in the woods far away from all the stress and hassle of our regular lives.
This is the story of how a suburban couple leaves all the comforts of modern civilization, in order to experience the beauty of the Minnesota wilderness. The book takes on a "Little House on the Prairie" quality, as Helen Hoover details the struggles she and her husband go through as they learn to cope without electricity, close neighbors, and access to the amenities of modern life. She describes the breathtaking scenery beautifully, but her true gift is in bringing the animals to... (show more ...more
Oct 24, 2009 Hannah rated it really liked it
In the mid-1950's Helen and Adrian Hoover left their professional life in Chicago behind and bought some land and a log cabin in the Minnesota wilderness on the banks of Lake Superior.

"A Place in the Woods" was Helen's description of their struggles, disasters, challenges and triumphs as the couple created a new way of life among the numerous animals and much less numerous people living miles away.

Helen's writing style was easy, natural and sometimes lyrical. You can tell she loved the outdoors,
Donna Hendricks
Dec 07, 2014 Donna Hendricks rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of book I love--a real couple, Helen and Ade, who are looking for something--a cabin in the woods. They found just the place: a rustic cabin with lots of problems: a bear tried to get in the trap door, they had to carry up water from Lake Superior, there was no full size bed. Oh well, it was perfect for them and they bought it. I just loved all the details and how they found ways to survive in the wilderness.
Aug 09, 2009 Kathleen rated it liked it
Very interesting true story of a city couple from Chicago who move to the north woods of MN in 1954. It bogs down in a lot of unnecessary details, and leaves out some necessary ones. And (cynical me) I couldn't help but ask myself throughout the whole book: Were they REALLY this likeable and loveable that everyone in the area wanted to help them and do things for them for free all the time. Were their neighbors really all that generous and selfless in wanting to help them succeed? Although they ...more
Oct 27, 2015 Gabriella rated it really liked it
The author talks about a couple that leave their previous life and make the choice to live i nthe wood. here they found thirselves e discover the basic and rural life, far away by urban city and frenetic life.
Lee Yahnker
Sep 30, 2015 Lee Yahnker rated it liked it
It's odd to review a book that seems so full of life only to discover the author died 30 years ago. Cute but simplistic story of a couple living off the land and their encounters with wildlife.
Sep 11, 2013 Christina rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
Helen Hoover and her husband Adrian left successful careers in Chicago to live in the woods of northern Minnesota in the 1950's. In this book, she recounts their decision to make the move and the events of their first year. Hoover's prose is elegant and often poetic, particularly in her descriptions of the wildlife and the scenery. Her eye for the smallest detail brings this isolated area to life for the reader. It's hard to imagine life without electricity, indoor plumbing, or regular mail or p ...more
Lisa Marchetti
Jan 02, 2015 Lisa Marchetti rated it it was amazing
One of my all time favorites. This and "The Gift of the Deer" by her are just lovely, well written books. It doesn't hurt that they are set in Northern Minnesota.
Aug 29, 2012 Natalie rated it really liked it
Shelves: nature-books
Darling, touching book about an educated couple who were quite ahead of their time (even by today's standards) who went off into the isolated big woods to live off the grid.

Firstly, no one INTENTIONALLY did that back then (1930's-40's). Also, Helen was not your ordinary housewife, but an educated engineer.

The first part of the book is so gripping, and you can't believe how everything went wrong, yet how she stood and kept her sanity.

Well, worth the read. Even by today's standards. Not dated at a
Cindy Steflik
Sep 01, 2014 Cindy Steflik rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys true life stories
I really enjoyed this book because I enjoy true stories of folk going out of their element to pursue their dreams.
May 15, 2016 Kellymark44 rated it really liked it
Great book that describes the best parts of winter in the North woods.
Mar 05, 2015 Nancy rated it liked it
It is a gentle story, thoughtfully told. Lots of good wild animal stories.
Jan 18, 2016 Therese rated it it was amazing
A delight.
Feb 28, 2010 Tara rated it it was amazing
I'm doing that thing I do where I read two or three books at a time. Never ends well. I need discipline...

* I finished this book a week or so ago. I loved it. The author tells the the true story of her first year living off the grid with her husband in northern Minnesota, after a somewhat rash decision to quit their jobs and just do it. It was awesome. What an experience. And, that fact that this all happened in the fifties was even more amazing. I hope to live that dream someday...
Brad Erickson
Jan 08, 2014 Brad Erickson rated it really liked it
Absolutely delightful; a surprise and wonderful Christmas gift from my wife. If you are interested in Minnesota northwoods living, and in particular, roughing it out there, this is a good read. Of course, I don't think anyone is living like this anymore.
Jan 12, 2014 Sandra rated it it was amazing
I hated for this to end...I felt I was living their lives for a while...heaven! I usually only rate it 5 stars if I will read it again...that doesn't happen very often.
Dec 06, 2009 Sue rated it it was amazing
A wonderful look at living in the northwoods of MN in the mid 1950's on a shoe string budget and when your background is big city Chicago. The description of the seasons, the ups and downs of learning to live in the wilds, the introspection of the author makes it a terrific read.
Joe Mossa
Jul 02, 2008 Joe Mossa rated it liked it

this is a good non fiction book. this successful couple leave good jobs in chicago to live in a cabin in the woods like thoreau. they spend much time feeding wild animals. she never talks of sex and they are in their 40 s and this disappointed me.
Dec 04, 2009 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: nature lovers
Recommended to Jenny by: no one
I found Helen Hoover's A Place in the Woods a sacred space of patience, endurance, and appreciation. I am so glad she wrote this so I could learn from her. She isn't with us but yet she helps me who is left behind.
Apr 04, 2008 Kelly rated it really liked it
I found this book at a sale at the library. Its a fast read and a very nice story about living 'away from it all' and really being forced to intertwine nature/the seasons into your day-to-day life.
Mar 03, 2013 Joanna rated it it was amazing
What a fun read! The true adventures of a couple who leave Chicago for the quiet woods. No neighbors for miles, they must learn to rely on themselves and each other.
Jan 27, 2014 Richard rated it really liked it
Shelves: project-2014

There IS a natural rhythm to a simplified life and there IS a wondering why regarding hyper civilized living…a pleasant, easy and rewarding read…

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