We Went to the Woods by Caite Dolan-Leach

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We Went to the Woods: A Novel by [Dolan-Leach, Caite]

3 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group -Random House, Random House

Date of publication: July 2nd, 2019

Genre: General Fiction

Where you can find We Went to the Woods: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

They went off the grid. Their secrets didn’t. For readers of The Secret History and The Immortalists comes a novel about the allure–and dangers–of disconnecting.

Certain that society is on the verge of economic and environmental collapse, five disillusioned twenty-somethings make a bold decision: They gather in upstate New York to transform an abandoned farm, once the site of a turn-of-the-century socialist commune, into an idyllic self-sustaining compound called the Homestead.

Louisa spearheads the project, as her wealthy family owns the plot of land. Beau is the second to commit; as mysterious and sexy as he is charismatic, he torments Louisa with his nightly disappearances and his other relationships. Chloe, a dreamy musician, is naturally able to attract anyone to her–which inevitably results in conflict. Jack, the most sensible and cerebral of the group, is the only one with any practical farm experience. Mack, the last to join, believes it’s her calling to write their story–but she is not the most objective narrator, and inevitably complicates their increasingly tangled narrative. Initially exhilarated by restoring the rustic dwellings, planting a garden, and learning the secrets of fermentation, the group is soon divided by slights, intense romantic and sexual relationships, jealousies, and suspicions. And as winter settles in, their experiment begins to feel not only misguided, but deeply isolating and dangerous.

Caite Dolan-Leach spins a poignant and deeply human tale with sharp insights into our modern anxieties, our collective failures, and the timeless desire to withdraw from the world.


My Review:

I'm the wrong one to tell our story

My interest was caught by We Went to the Woods when I read the blurb. I thought to myself, “This sounds like it will be a good read.” In a way, it was. The author was able to showcase how hard it was to form the type of compound that Louisa wanted. She was able to highlight how hard it was to start and the failures that the Homestead went through in the first year. But, at the same time, I had to force myself to finish reading We Went to the Woods. I got bored reading it.

The plotline was well written and very descriptive. I wasn’t a fan of how it turned out. Mack had no clue what Louisa, Beau, and Jack were doing. I know that she was kept in the dark, but she should have had a clue when she stumbled upon the weapons cache at the Collective. Instead, she turned into an ostrich. Heck, even Chloe know more than she did.

I wasn’t a fan of Mack. The book was told from her perspective (1st person). Her insecurities and her jealousy colored it. It got to the point where I would roll my eyes whenever she made mention of lanterns going between the cabins.

The author dragged out what happened to Mack. What she did was disgusting, no doubt. The backlash was disgusting too. I wish that it had been revealed sooner in the book. The bits and pieces that were leaked drove me nuts.

I do wish that the author focused more on the workings of the Homestead. I was fascinated at how they were able to make a thriving farm from nothing.

I was fascinated by the community they found. I thought that communes were a thing of the past. To find out that there are still communes out there fascinated me.

I wasn’t a fan of the polyamorous relationships that were featured in the book. I know people in polyamorous relationships, and they are nothing like what was featured in the book. What was featured was the worst side of those types of relationships.

The end of the We Went to the Woods was confusing. I wanted to know what happened to certain characters. I also wanted to know was Mack considering doing what I think she was doing? It was so vague that I didn’t know what was going on.


I would give We Went to the Woods an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread We Went to the Woods I am on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

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