The Forest of Hands and Teeth


Cover of "The Forest of Hands and Teeth"

Cover of The Forest of Hands and Teeth

What a catchy title, huh?  Kind of unsettling, but intriguing at the same time.  It’s the name of a book, but I’m not here to gush over it (though it is one of the best things you’ll ever read if you are into the latest trend in fiction, the post-apocalyptic world–think Hunger Games) nor am I here to recommend it.  Ok I lied.  I recommend it.  It’s beyond awesome.  

Here’s a brief synopsis of the story.  Mary lives in the last safe place on Earth, a gated village that is home to those who have survived a deadly infection that has wiped out most of the human population.  In the village, Mary has her basic physical needs met, friends and family, and the protection of the powerful Sisterhood whose job is to make sure that the villagers never cross over the gates into the forest.

Yet, Mary hungers for something more and feels called to a place that may or may not still exist, the ocean.  Though she’s only seen it in photographs, she feels going there will make her life complete.  There’s only one problem.  To get to the ocean, she must travel through the treacherous Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Mary, driven by a force that seems greater than herself, ventures out into the forest of Hands and Teeth.  However, there is danger every step of the way.  The Unconsecrated, or those that have become infected by the virus that wiped out the world reside in this forest, only held back by a fragile metal fence.  They relentlessly seek out the living to spread their pain.  Their constant moans and unending hunger for blood never cease.  With one swipe of the hand or one bite of the flesh, Mary’s dreams would be over.

Mary’s journey to her dream is not actually a journey.  It’ a nightmare.  The constant threat of death and hunger are lingering with each step.  Just when she thinks the ocean is merely beyond the horizon, the Unconsecrated unleash their silent fury. 

Being an IF veteran, I can relate the story to my own life.  The story was hard to read because Mary’s journey to the fulfillment of a dream quickly turned to a story of mere survival.  Like Mary, I have a dream and have gone on a journey to accomplish it.  However, the road has become so dark and laborious, that it is now more of a nightmare. I just want to survive.  Like the Forest of Hands and Teeth,  infertility surrounds me on all sides.  It is unforgiving and relentless.  It is unappeasing and unremitting.  I try to ignore it, but the hollow moans of infertility are inescapable.

I don’t choose to surrender myself to infertility but what if I don’t have a choice?  What if it simply reaches through the metal fence and takes me? Its determination is so fierce that I do not know which path to take anymore.   There are paths to take, but there are no guarantees that I will choose the correct one.  So far, my chosen paths have been dead ends and I wonder if there truly is a path that will lead me to my ocean.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Added to my reading list. Sounds like you got a lot out of it, I’m excited to try it.


  2. Ooh, perfect timing! I JUST finished reading my book tonight and I’m ready for something new. Thanks for the recommendation!


  3. Thanks for the recommendation! I’m always looking for my next good read. And I agree, this journey is terrifying… Especially the part about not knowing if we are choosing the right paths or if we will ever get to our ocean. I often think of my IF journey as a nightmare. I wish I Coukd wake up from it. I know you do too.


  4. Maybe our journeys are meant to be longer than others. It’s hard though because it can feel as if infertility has brought you down to your knees, that someone has wrapped barbed wire around your neck and dragged you through the harshest of deserts. In those moments it’s impossible to think the journey will ever end. But what is life without hope? And if we don’t hope, we have to accept and then.. what happens with life when we accept? How do we get over the heartbreak and how do we heal? You’re right. It’s a nightmare.


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