Mindy McGinnis has written two books that I love (The Female of the Species and Heroine) so I consider her an insta-read author now. Be Not Far From Me is a survivalist story, I haven’t read many of those, but I trust McGinnis to tell a gripping story so I dove into this relatively short novel with an open mind.
The first thing I’m going to say about this novel is that it is incredibly graphic and descriptive. In fact it is so descriptive, that I had to put the book down. I’m not afraid to admit that I have a bit of a weak stomach when it comes to gore and injuries. There are some sports injuries that I will never be able to wipe from my brain after seeing them on tv. McGinnis’ writing was so descriptive, it was like I was seeing the injury in real life, and I… wasn’t too keen on that. I gagged, audibly commented ‘nope nope no nope,’ and literally stopped reading the book so as to give my mental imagery a break. So be aware of that before you go into this, because I was not aware and I really wish I had been. In meme fashion, the descriptions start coming, and they don’t stop coming, and they don’t stop coming, and they don’t stop coming.
Our main character is Ashely, she’s an adventurer in her own right. She loves hiking and camping, loves the outdoors and doing things the rugged natural way. When she get injured while at a party out in the woods, her focus moves from having a good time with her friends to survive. You follow her as she struggles to make her way through the forest on one leg, using all of her training to clean and take care of herself, build shelter, and eat and drink. She’s constantly at the verge of death and you’re wondering when it will happen.
I will admit, this book has me thinking I need to take a couple of survivalist courses just so that if I ever end up in a situation like this, I am prepared. It’s related to Hatchett and Wild, two books I haven’t read unfortunately, but hear on good authority that it is similar to them. To be honest, this isn’t something I would have picked up if I knew how just basic survival story it was. I’m not really sure that’s a genre for me and while I enjoyed this book, and think it was done really well, I wouldn’t call it a new fave. I can respect what it is and also know that it’s not going to be the start of something new for me. I encourage you to give it a read if you want something that is about testing the limits of your abilities and what someone is willing to do in order to survive.