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Reasons She Goes to the Woods by [Davies, Deborah]
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Reasons She Goes to the Woods Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product Description



Praise for True Things About Me


‘In this wallop of a little novel . . . Ms. Davies writes with such spunk that you stay with her for much of the ride’ New York Times

‘Brutal, funny . . . One of those rare novels that is genuinely about sex, in all its irrationality and potential for self-destruction’  Lionel Shriver

‘Outstanding… With black humour and heartrending accuracy. Davies is a poet, and this is a poet’s novel in the very best sense ― every word is pin-sharp and perfectly in its place’

(The Times)

‘A rounded, complex portrait of growing-up that has an atmosphere all of its own’

(We Love This Book)

‘Exquisite… to be marvelled at.’

(The Guardian)

‘A spiky echo of Angela Carter, with whom Ms Davies at her best stands fair comparison… The language is fresh, the imagery striking… and Pearl herself is a rampant, compelling, fully-realised, wild-eyed, teary creation.’

(The Scotsman)

‘A sexy, contrary book… also a story concerned with morality. The most sustained and challenging aspect of the narrative is its insistence about what a little girl is like’ 


‘A poetic and strange novel, full of flair’ 

(Emerald Street)

‘Dark, beautifully descriptive and rather haunting’

(Grazia Daily)

‘Best for highbrow sun lounging… told with a gothic, sensual style that Angela Carter would be proud of’


‘Pearl is a marvellously contradictory creation, showing the cruelty in children as well as their neediness, their capacity for love and friendship... Davies’s novel reads almost like a prose poem’

(Independent on Sunday)

'Raw, lyrical, sad, this haunting story packs a deceivingly strong punch.'

(Publishers Weekly)

About the Author

Deborah Kay Davies won the Wales Book of the Year 2009 award with her first work of fiction, the short story collection Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful. When her debut novel, True Things About Me, came out in 2010, she was selected by BBC TV as one of the 12 best new British novelists. And when the novel was published in New York in 2011, Lionel Shriver chose it as her personal book of the year. She lives in Cardiff.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2120 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1780743769
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (6 Feb. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #402,571 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pearl being the name of the main protagonist. Pearl is a combination of Damien from the Omen and Lolita and has what you would call an electra complex - being in competition with her mother for the attentions of her father. So far, so disturbed. Now, I realise as a grown woman, the trials and tribulations of girlhood are now far behind me but this sgtory is in no way describing an average girlhood. I don't know many little girls who would jump off a tree in the full knowledge and willingness to break their leg. Parade around in a bikini for their father and push their mother into oncoming traffic. This is beyond any "acting up" by a child I've ever heard of.

Most disappointingly however, is that the woods themselves feature only fleetingly. Sure, we know Pearl goes down there now and then but the book largely revolves around her increasingly disturbing behaviour at home and with friends. I just didn't get any real sense of why they were so special to her. I think the writer missed a trick here and it could have added so much to the book. As it is, it's just a story, told in vignettes of a problem child. This is not a tale of a bratty child growing up, it's a tale of a severely disturbed child.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is terrific. Original, offbeat, short and bitter-sweet. It's increasingly difficult to do anything interesting with the closed formula of the modern novel but Deborah Kay Davies pulls it off admirably with chapters that are more like snippets from a dream and a brilliantly realised sense of growing menace. For anyone looking for something slightly more challenging than the latest 'Gone Girl' rip-off, this is highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Told in a series of vignettes, each no longer than a page, Reasons She Goes to the Woods charts episodes from the childhood of Pearl, a 'normal' girl. I would question what's considered normal here because she is more often than not bad, cruel or violent than good, kind or nice. She certainly does certain things that I'd consider as normal, especially when she plays outdoors, whether it be in her garden alone or with her kid brother or one or more of her friends, or in the titular woods behind her house, and there is good reason for her finding contentment in her own world, as an escape from her home life and to keep herself occupied. But she can do things which make for uncomfortable reading and are downright vicious and nasty and you have to wonder where that comes from. You do get a sense for why she might be more bad than good as a result of her parents' treatment of her, in particular her mother's, but the mother is battling demons, only one of which is her daughter. I didn't get much of a sense of Pearl's father and really wanted him to be a stronger character, given how much Pearl looks up to him and adores him. But Pearl's mistreatment or neglect at home only goes part of the way towards explaining her behaviour sometimes and I don't know if it ever excused it. I don't think the author ever set out to excuse or explain it either but there is a lot here that makes for uncomfortable reading simply because it isn't put into a wider context because of the way the book is structured.

I liked the idea behind that structure - I think a lot of people, not just children, will hold memories in a series of kaleidoscopic episodes that don't always fall into chronological order when remembered, and that is what happens here.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This novel's fabulous title finally tempted me to give it a go, and how I wanted to like it. Deborah Kay Davies is clearly a gifted writer, and her evocations of a small girl exploring the woods are spot on both in terms of the psychology of small girls and the geography of woodlands: 'the stream's breath smells of bright weeds, frogspawn, lichened pebbles... Circular, swirling eyes come and go on its surface... Pearl's shorts and pink sun-top all feel so stupid. She wades into the water, her sandals growing heavy, and waits for the stream to settle.' And, a little later on in Pearl's childhood: 'The sun is jabbing through the foliage like knitting needles, pointing out beautiful things. Bursts of golden light dart and pool in amongst the leaves. Her eyes are sore and swollen. Everything has a pink tinge. It's weird, and the woods start to look wrong, so she throws her voice up to the trees' heads.' As a very small child, the short vignettes from Pearl's life are fascinatingly well-observed. I'm wary of child narrators, but even I had to admit that Davies handles these snippets well, simultaneously capturing the eerie dangers and fantastic adventures promised by the woods.

Unfortunately, Reasons She Goes To The Woods does not fulfil the promise of its opening sections. One major issue is the form of the novel. I think restrictive forms can often be very good for writers - Eleanor Catton certainly made it work in The Luminaries - but by choosing to tell Pearl's story not only in brief vignettes but vignettes that all have to be more-or-less the same length, Davies has saddled herself with an impossible task.
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