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Second Nature

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  5,066 ratings  ·  281 reviews
Second Nature tells the story of a suburban woman, Robin Moore, who discovers her own free spirit through a stranger she brings home to her perfectly ordered neighborhood. As Robin impulsively draws this beautiful, uncivilized man into her world-meanwhile coping with divorce and a troubled teenage son-she begins to question her wisdom and doubt her own heart, and ultimatel ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 1st 1998 by Berkley (first published 1994)
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3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,066 ratings  ·  281 reviews

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Feb 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
The more Alice Hoffman books I read, the more I admire her. I neglected giving her a try for the longest time because she's more "mainstream" i.e. popular, and I consider myself someone who likes authors most people don't. But her books really speak for themselves and are amazing. This one was no exception. She draws you into a story no matter what it's about, and her actual writing ability is hypnotic. Several sections she wrote in _Second Nature_ about love and how it feels seem to go right to ...more
"Don't let them take me someplace." When he spoke after so many years, the words actually hurt, each one a crooked bone, a fishhook, a burning star. Already, he was starting to disappear.

This is my first story by Alice Hoffman. I know she has a devoted following; the readers that love her style of writing seem to appreciate all of her stories. I had a problem with this piece of fiction; I am not sure what I should tell you. It is unique; you will need to set aside your skepticism and just g
Sandra Bašić
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
„Što je to, to svjetlo koje plamti u tebi, to zbog čega se osjećaš kao da nemaš dovoljno zraka? Znao je što je privrženost, to je ono zbog čega se ostaje zajedno i štiti jedno drugo i dijeli s drugima čak i kad se nema dovoljno ni za sebe.“

Samo jedan dječak preživjet će avionsku nesreću. On će rasti, loviti i živjeti s vukovima. Kad ga ljudi pronađu, zatvorit će ga u bolnicu i tako će postati samo broj - 3119. Nazvat će ga Stephen iako će po hodnicima govoriti o Likantropu – Čovjeku-vuku. Stephe
Sep 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: magical-realism
This is one of those finish-in-one-sitting books. The characters are so compellingly alive that even when they say or do the most illogical, improbable things, you're right there with them. The setting is as compelling as the characters--I want to give up everything to go live in a fisherman's shack on the beach like Stuart, I want to sneak out to meet Connor on a cold winter's night, I want to run like Stephen around the circumference of the island, I want to pause, like Robin, with my hand on ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
It has been nearly decade and a half since the last time I've read this book.
It is still as engaging and intriguing as it was the last time I've read it.
I love the writing style and how the characters are portrayed.
I'm glad I own this book.
4/5.0 stars
"In only a few hours, they'd transfer him and he'd be gone forever. Already, he was starting to disappear. Soon he would forget that the upturned leaves on the trees predicted whether or not it would rain, and that a rabbit dared not move if you covered its eyes. That was how they decided what to take down, at least he remembered that. They went after whatever was frightened and gave up easily. Anything that had the courage to stare you down, you let pass he saw her looking at
Feb 04, 2008 added it
A wonderful synthesis of Beauty and the Beast and Tarzan! Sexy, scary, fun.
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poetically tragic story filled with the luminous glow of longing and forbidden love...Heartbreaking, multi-layered love story of complete devotion and self-sacrifice.
Nov 13, 2010 is currently reading it
Shelves: romance
I've read this book so many times that I can't believe I'm reading it again -- but, I am. I love Alice Hoffman's quirky blend of magic realism and pragmatism.
Vivone Os
BOOK CLUB 2017 (za listopad 2017)
Prva knjiga Alice Hoffman koju sam čitala.
Radnja se vrti oko Stephena, muškarca koji je s tri godine doživio i jedini preživio avionsku nesreću, tako završio u divljini te su ga odgojili vukovi. Kao odraslog ga povrijeđenog u šumi pronalaze lovci i na taj način završava u mentalnoj instituciji odakle ga sasvim slučajno izvlači psihijatrova sestra Robin. Vodi ga sa sobom kući gdje se uz njenu pomoć pokušava uklopiti u svijet ljudi.
Knjiga mi se nije svidjela. Pre
Another beautifully written & absorbing tale from Hoffman but for me lacking the hints of mysticism that I so enjoy in her work.....still a five star read though :o)
Dec 21, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Slučajan susret između pacijenta umobolnice pod brojem 3119 zvanog Likantrop i Robin Moore, žene, čiji brat radi u ovoj ustanovi, neće ostati samo na tome. Njegov vapaj i rečenica :"Ne dajte da me odvedu" utjecao je na nju samu, pa ga odvodi kući sa sobom.
Čovjek-vuk , kako su ga zvali je zapravo dječak , koji je preživio avionsku nesreću i kojeg su u divljini othranili vukovi. Samim tim je to čovjek, koji malo priča i potrebno mu je puno vremena da se adaptira na ljude i civilizaciju oko sebe.
A young man living among wolves is trapped and hospitalized. Traumatized and terrified he does not speak and because of his extremely disheveled look and his instinctual behavior, he is dubbed The Wolf Man. On the day of his transfer to a mental institution,recently divorced Robin on impulse, manages to spirit him away to her home.
So begins a twisted tale of love and redemption, and what is possible when traditional beliefs and habits, or second nature,can be suspended.The beauty of Alice Hoff
missy jean
Jan 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to missy by: Kyoko Mori
Shelves: fiction
The whole time I was reading this book, I had mixed feelings about it. I loved the story itself, the magical, mythological quality of it. And there was plenty of beautiful language and powerful imagery to hold me to the story, including a few memorable passages about love. But there was something about Hoffman's writing style in this book --perhaps the way she scrunches scenes together without ever really writing in scene-- that I found disjointing and distracting. Often her backstory felt force ...more
Apr 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
I struggled through the beginning -- the boring introduction of a feral man to modern society, the tedious entrance of the stubborn heroine who rescues the Wolfman from a psychiatric ward, the over-explained background histories for both of them -- until I got to page 55 and this line:

"He'd already realized he could not begin to understand the things men did; now he saw women were even harder to figure out. Sometimes it almost seemed as if they were thinking one thing and talking about something
Aug 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Alice Hoffman fans, if you liked "The Deepest End of the Ocean"
A An absolutely delicious (yet sad) love story. After a plane crashes and everyone dies by 3.5 yo Stephen, he is raised by wolves. After his leg is caught in a trap, he is sent to a hospital and about to be committed when Robin encounters him and spontaneously takes him home b/c she knows he isn't crazy. It's an amazing book with layers of love story, passion, intensity, and sadness. I loved it and want to read it again already.
Tenaya Jayne
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
I read the whole book in a state of bemusement. The writing was tight and it kept my attention, but more often than not I found myself wondering what the devil I was reading and why was I reading it.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I hope that eventually I'll be able to read off the books written by Alice Hoffman. I certainly have a long way to go but managed to quickly read Second Nature. I liked the well-developed characters, the concept, and of course, the writing style. She usually writes with more mysticism than she did in this novel, but she has written a novel that I enjoyed very much. It has depth, suspense, emotion, realistic settings, and a secret, sad romance.

Alice Hoffman knows how to write about human nature.
Susan's Reviews
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was such an engrossing read. Certainly on my reread list!
Emily Turner
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I loved this story from start to finish! It's one of those books you don't want to put down.
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I have very little words. And, I think, for the context of this book that may be exactly how one should feel. This book is all about raw feelings and intuition. It's about what is wild in us all. And what we may have forgotten is wild in us all. I loved the characters all the way through. Well developed. Well understood. Simple story, complex lives. Read. You will not regret it.
Jul 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Beguiled by her seductive prose and her imaginative virtuosity, readers have always been willing to suspend disbelief and enjoy the touches of magic in Hoffman's novels ( Illumination Night ; Turtle Moon , etc). Here, credibility is stretched not by magical intervention but by the implausibility of a major character. When a feral young man is discovered living with wolves in a remote area of upper Michigan, he cannot speak and can barely remember his early life. Transferred to a hospital in Manh ...more
Dec 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Hoffman lives up to her hype of expressive words and phrases that convey setting, relationships, and character growth. Overall, this author is a master of the craft and will not disappoint those who look for structure and need a solid construct of story elements. As for the story itself, it was a strange read. Hoffman created a character that had been raised, and loved, by wolves. Having been hurt, he is 'rescued' and institutionalized in the hopes of civilizing him. However, the main character ...more
Mar 22, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
An absorbing page turner!

A "wolf man" is caught by trappers and taken to a psychiatric hospital. He is examined, prodded and questioned. Orders are written to send him to another psychiatric facility to be locked up the rest of his life. The doctor's wife, Robin, daringly smuggles the "wolf man" out of the hospital and takes him home with her. What follows changes the community and Robin's life. Wonderful story.

From the back cover:

"He was beautiful. He was innocent. And in the locked room where
Robin Moore rescues a wild, nonspeaking young man--called the Wolf Man because he was found, injured, in a wolf trap--from impending transfer to a mental hospital. In the process of teaching Stephen how to live in "civilized" suburban society, she falls in love with him. Meanwhile, neightborhood animals are found with their throats slit, and a teenage girl is murdered; the Wolf Man is naturally a suspect. Hoffman writes with surehanded grace and detail about Stephen's many years living with a pa ...more
Oct 31, 2011 rated it liked it
I like Alice Hoffman's work more than I admire it, partly because her stories seem so easy. She tells an engaging story, scripts it neatly, and peoples it with well drawn characters. Second Nature is a lovely allegory about how our own best impulses are undermined by our uncertainties. Its making its hero a "feral boy" is a little implausible and a tad magical, but that is part of (and part of the point of) the book's charm. I enjoyed the book thoroughly, ripped right through it, was satisfied b ...more
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
My first Alice Hoffman book, and I am glad I chanced upon it.. This book has all that I like in a novel- language, good characters, romance, suspense, relations... It feels almost like a fairy tale, though with a not-so-happy ending. The language is plain yet absorbing, with a flow to it. Well explored characters, you actually feel that you know them. Beautiful descriptions, be it the surroundings, or the characters or their actions, or emotions... The romance was really good, though sad. A love ...more
Mar 08, 2013 rated it liked it
I liked this book and I'm glad I read it but I felt like it left me wanting something more. The conclusion made sense and the story was engaging and quick, but I felt like I wanted the characters to be a little more well developed and interesting. Hoffman writes so beautifully and her concepts are always really fascinating but I often feel like I finish her books and think "huh?" I can't decide if it's all too realistic for me and I want it to be more exciting, or if it's not realistic enough
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Yet another Alice Hoffman book I started and couldn't finish. I did find one quote I liked though.

"This happened with roses: it was possible to take them for granted all summer as they wound along fences and gates, and then in September, when they faded, how beautiful they'd once been suddenly took hold. That was when people began to yearn for them, and all winter long they'd watch the bare branches for buds, vowing that this time they'd be grateful for all that they had."
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Second Nature 2 20 Jan 26, 2012 08:57PM  

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Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. She lives near Boston.
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“The evening had turned sweet and blue.” 7 likes
“He'd already realized that he could not begin to understand the things men did; now he saw women were even harder to figure out. Sometimes it almost seemed as if they were thinking one thing and talking about something else completely, and you didn't know what to believe: the thing they said or the thing they didn't.” 3 likes
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