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Into That Forest

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  511 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Me name be Hannah O'Brien and I be seventy-six years old. Me first thing is an apology - me language is bad cos I lost it and had to learn it again. But here's me story and I be glad to tell it before I hop the twig.

So begins this extraordinary novel, which will transport you to Australia's wild frontier and stay in your mind long after you've finished reading.
Paperback, 184 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by Allen and Unwin
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,403)
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Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Pages read: 25

Nope. I cannot. This book is not my thing on so many levels. The premise made me think of Life of Pi which I loved, but, sadly, I hadn't seen a sample of the writing.

Insurmountable obstacles between me and Into That Forest:

1. Dialect - alone, this might not have been a dealbreaker. It seems decently well done here, but it's not my favorite style ever, and slows my reading significantly, since I mentally edit.

2. There are no chapters. I like having regular breaks to process and put...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Now seventy-six years old, Hannah O'Brien puts pen to paper to tell the story of her unique childhood: when she was just six years old, a tragedy leaves her and a friend, seven-year-old Becky, lost and alone in the bush. They are rescued by a female Thylacine - a Tasmanian Tiger - who takes them back to her den where her mate is. For about four years they live in harmony with the pair of Thylacines, learning to hunt and communicate through grunts and yawns - the distinctive wide-open mouth. Hann...more
This was an unusual book. Easily read in a single sitting, it spins the tale of two little girls taken in and raised by a pair of Tasmanian tigers. It illustrates the remarkable resilience of the spirit as well as the ability to revert to pure animal behavior in order to survive.

The story was sad, as it almost had to be. The dialect may put off some readers, but it fit the storyline and was not difficult to follow. As a rule, I am not into cover art, but this one is particularly striking.

Vincent Ripley
If you have read any of my previous posts, then you will have seen that I've been very fortunate to read some cracking books at this start of this new year, already. Yet again (if this book is anything to go by) then we are in for another feast of delight. It would be fair to say that I was not expecting this book - it was a very delightful surprise. In fact I knew nothing about it, or the author, until it arrived on my doorstep. Therefore, I would like to send a big thank you to Egmont for send...more
SJH (A Dream of Books)
'Into That Forest' was a wonderful book, unlike anything else I've ever read before. The story takes the reader on an incredible journey through the Tasmanian outback with friends Hannah and Becky. Thoughts of this book lingered with me long after turning the final page and I'm looking forward to passing it onto others who haven't yet discovered such an amazing title.

The story is narrated by seventy-six year old Hannah, who is looking back on her early life. Nothing could prepare me for the tal...more
Wow, what a book. This was by far one of the most unusual books I have ever read. Louis Nowra certainly deserves his standing in the Australian literary landscape. I was completely drawn in to the world of Hannah and Rebecca - after a slow start. This book kind of creeps up on you like a stalking thylacine, and that is as it should be.

Hannah and Becky, awkward friends, lost and alone after a shipping accident, are washed up on a strange shore and are cared for by a family of Tasmanian Tigers, D...more
Warning: this book will break your heart.

In college, as a sociology minor and over all sociology groupie bum, I became aware and a little obsessed with the happening of feral children. There were cases of children who had been locked in one room for all their developmental years, knew nothing of language or social interaction, and later, either their remains were found, or they were rescued and the long process began of assimilating these children back into society. There were cases of children...more
Lydia Shellenbarger
So the in general story, two girls are marooned away from civilization in Tasmania and taken in by a couple of "tigers" (pretty sure they don't mean tigers like the rest of the world thinks of tigers, as they also refer to them as Tasmanian Tigers and Dingos, but they are never very clear) who help them survive in the wild for four years. After they are re-claimed by humanity, the story follows their struggles in re-learning how to be people.

So a couple of reviewers have hit on two of my issues

There have been plenty of plot summaries of this book, some describing this story in a repulsive, disgusted sort of sense as if the book itself presented a threat on some very visceral level, while choosing to ignore content altogether and instead seemed preoccupied with the author's writing style and chose not to finish the book but rated it anyway, a practice I personally don't hold with. How can you fully assess a books merits if you've jumped ship? I choose to file these books as abandoned...more
Hannah and her friend Becky are on a picnic with Hannah's parents when a storm ends up killing Hannah's parents and sweeping the girls into the forest of Tasmania. They are rescued by a Tasmanian tiger who cares for the two girls as if they were her own cubs. The tiger and her mate teach the girls how to survive in the forest. They learn to hunt, lap water, run on all fours, and curl up with their adopted tiger parents for warmth and safety. While surviving in the forest, they lose a lot...more
After being shipwrecked in an awful freak storm, 6 year old Hannah and her 7 year old friend Becky are adopted by two Tasmanian Tigers. When they finally have contact with civilization again, they rebel against humanity in favor of the animals who have become their family. Into That Forest is narrated by Hannah, now 76 and still struggling with human language, in a simplified dialect that transforms it into a memoir that makes it seem like a true story.

I've seen a lot of style complaints, and th...more
First off (and unrelated to the book), I always find it entertaining when reviewers complain about the use of dialect in a book, but they have multiple misspellings in their review. Like, OMG I COULD NOT RED THIS IT WAS HORIBLE. THEY SOUND SO DUM. HOW THEY NOT WRIT GUD?

Definitely a 4.5 for me. There were parts when it was pushed along as a story because it was more of a 'short story' instead of a novel, and there just wasn't the space or time for more detail.

It's told from the PoV of Hannah. Ha...more
This was not a "fun" book to read, but presumably someone would gather that if they read the description. I take exception to the book's detractors who complain about the "grammar". It's not a grammar issue; the book is narrated in Hannah's dialect.

1) She LOST her English, and this is how she relearned it;
2) The time period in which she relearned it was in the '30's;
3) It was in the '30's *in Tasmania*.

We can't exactly place modern day American English on the parameters of the setting.

Come to th...more
Alexandria  Ang
Please check out my online blog for a full review and a character analysis!
Into That Forest review:

For me, this book started off a little bit slow. The anecdotal beginning was pleasant, yet very very elongated and was exhausting to read. All throughout the beginning of the book I was chanting, get to the action, get to the action. It was like the author had nothing else to write about and instead of getting straight to the point, the author wanted to gi...more
Renee Hall
Doesn't exactly add anything new to the wild-children trope, but the style of narration, and the fact that there are two children involved instead of just one, kept me interested in what might happen next. While there are the usual themes of civilization versus savagery (and which categories humans and animals fall into at times), the story strikes me as really about the girls' bond with each other, even more so than the bond they have with their adoptive animal family.
Amanda O'Shea
I loved this book because it was unique. Two girls are separated from their families and are taken into care by a pair of Tasmanian Tigers. The voice in this story, told through the first person viewpoint, was earthy and engaging. Tasmanian history was cleverly woven into the story providing readers with information about Tasmanian Tiger Hunts and whaling. This story was a refreshing read and would appeal to both boys and girls for different reasons.
Johnny Baillie
Into that forest is a compelling novel of two best friends, Rebecca and Hannah who follow a tiger into that forest and survive using the techniques from two tiger companions they meet. Into that forest has many compilations like the death of Hannah's parents, getting lost in the forest, a bounty hunter shooting tigers and becoming civilized again after being rescued from the forest.

The book is written in first person perspective and hence with improper grammar from re-learning English after forg...more
I listened to the audiobook rather than reading the book; the narrator's convincing performance and Tassie accent may be partly responsible for my absolutely loving every minute of this heartbreaking story. I'd heard about Into that Forest from the knowledgeable staff of Gleebooks in Sydney in 2012, but at that point it was only available in ARC, which I was not able to get before my return to the US. Given the choice between the simple survival instincts of the thylacines and the lack of compas...more
Alison Condliffe
One of the most original books I have ever read. The story of two girls saved and living with Tasmania tigers sounds far fetched but when I was reading it I became so involved. Another view on the brutal history of Tasmania but also a very moving book. I read this in a morning as I had to know what happened.
Tania Gee
3.5 Stars
I am generally a person who despises dialectical novels, especially dialects that sound illiterate, but this book won me over. Hannah is now an old woman, telling the tale of the time she spent with the tigers and her language has never really recovered from that time. The story shows us our very real capacity to develop our animalistic side, while also showing how desperately we cling to our civilization. The relationship between the two girls is done very realistically, and the adve...more
Cynthia Ulmer
I'm not really sure how to rate this book. I have mixed feelings on it. As a child, one of my favorite novels was The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. I loved it and read it many times. I was hoping this would be similar. My problem with this isn't Hannah's lack of proper grammar, but rather she does not talk like a five year old child. Very few five year old children would be as vulgar describing body functions as she does. They would use more childish terms--especially for the time period. On o...more
This review originally appeared on my blog,


INTO THAT FOREST is a book that requires a lot of suspension of disbelief, but once you get past the idea of two girls being rescued and raised by tigers, it’s quite a ride. Almost as wild as the one Hannah and Becky take, living in the bush and becoming more tiger than human.

The advanced review copy I read was only 153 pages, making INTO THAT FOREST a short but powerful book. I know it’s one of those books that I’ll randomly think about m...more
An unusual and beautiful little book. It is just as fascinating as you would think a book about two young girls adopted by tigers in the Tasmanian bush would be, but it was the depth and magic and heartbreak of it that surprised me. I see that some other people were put off by the dialect (the narrator says "I were scared" and things like that), and at first I thought it would bother me too, but soon I didn't even notice it, it was just Hannah's voice. Into That Forest was adventurous, heartbrea...more
I've heard of true stories that are similar to this: where children have been raised in the wild, then found and expected to become human again. This book is fiction and it just wasn't very convincing for me.

Two girls survive a storm and are accepted and raised by tigers in Australia. The father of one of the girls has never stopped looking and finally finds them. As memories come back to the girls the desire to protect and return to their tiger parents is even stronger.

I wanted to like it, but...more
The back of this book describes this story in such a good, simple way that, after reading, communicates so much to me.

"Two girls.
Two tigers.
Four years in the wild."

In the book Into That Forest, by Louis Nowra, two girls, Becky and Hannah are lost at a shore far away after a shipwreck, in which Hannah lost both of her parents. They are saved by a female tiger and her mate, whom they later name Dave and Corinna. In what would seem like such simple sentences and words, this author manages to create...more
Amanda Northrup
When six-year-old Hannah and her friend Becky find themselves alone in the wilderness, they are adopted by a mated pair of Tasmanian Tigers. While living with the tigers, they begin to lose their language, clothing, and other indicators of humanity. But what happens when they are forced to rejoin civilization?

Three adjectives that describe this book: gritty, gripping, tragic

This book had been getting rave reviews so I was really excited to get my hands on it. The concept of children raised in th...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I agree with other people that it can be difficult to get used to with the narrator's dialect and the lack of chapter breaks but once you're into it it's a quick, enjoyable read. It's the story of 2 young girls who get lost in the woods, saved by tigers, and live among the tigers for several years (I forget the actual length) until one day....
You have to suspend disbelief a bit but I just absolutely love stories of children raised among animals. I think Nowra did a good job of illustrating the t...more
It’s strange to think that, under the right conditions, humans can revert back to the wild state our ancestors worked so hard to detach civilised society from. After all, we still have the tools; keen eyesight and hearing, a decent sense of smell and a predators’ ability to problem solve, we just fail to utilise them, or simply employ them in different ways. And regressing to the wild-side is exactly what happens in Into That Forest; stranded in the Tasmanian wilderness, two young girls, Hannah...more
Wow, what an amazing page turner. I read this story in a day. The narrator of this story is 76 year old Hannah, who is settling down to tell us about her remarkable early life in the wilds of Tasmania, in a time when an abundance of whales birthed in the quiet bays, when whaling was still a lucritive business, and Tassie Tigers roamed the island is vast numbers.

Quite frankly, this is a story where the reader is required to suspend their belief. It is a story about life's strange and tragic turns...more
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Louis Nowra (born 12 December 1950) is an Australian writer, playwright, screenwriter and librettist. His most significant plays are Così, Byzantine Flowers, Summer of the Aliens, Radiance, and The Golden Age. In 2007 he completed the The Boyce Trilogy for Griffin Theatre Company, consisting of The Woman with Dog's Eyes, The Marvellous Boy and The Emperor of Sydney. Many of his plays have been fil...more
More about Louis Nowra...
Così Summer Of The Aliens Ice The Golden Age Radiance

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“Where were me parents? Where were Becky? I felt so alone, so lost that I could
not see. By that I mean, everything round me were a blur, everything inside me
were a blur of fear and shock. I heard meself crying and moaning, My oh my, my
oh my . . . I still have nightmares ’bout that time. I still feel like a sharp piece of
ice has stabbed me heart real deep. I was filled, filled to the brim with utter baffle
and utter loneliness. p. 15”
“…a wolf creature with yellow fur and black stripes. It were about the size of a real
large dog. I can remember it to this day, cos it were the first one I had ever seen.
It had a long muzzle and stripes on its sides like a tiger. The tail were thick and
the fur so fine and smooth it were like it didn’t have hair. It’s like a wolf, I heard
me mother say and indeed it looked like those wolves I seen in me fairytale books.
It stared at us with huge black eyes, then it opened its jaw real slow til I thought it
could swallow a baby. I’ll go bail if it were not the most bonny, handsomest thing I
ever seen..”
More quotes…