There is nothing like a gripping ‘wilderness’ tale where, similar to Biblical heroes of old, someone is forced to face insurmountable odds dealing with all Life throws at them in order to come out the other side, not only still alive but made whole. That’s Karen Marie Dion’s experience in INTO THE WILDERNESS: One Woman’s Extraordinary Journey through Corruption, Lies, and Betrayal.
Some of the many good things about Dion’s INTO THE WILDERNESS include that it’s a hard book to put down, as it explores links between parental unkindness, male chauvinism, the kinds of men women choose to marry, and the types of behaviors experienced privately as well as in business. Then there are the links between porn and sexual behavior, the links between illegal actions in court rooms and a web of vindictive pedophiles, drug dealers, and blackmailers including judges, lawyers, mayors, and real estate tenants, along with the kind of strength prayer offers when all hope seems lost. As God says: “I shall restore to you all the years the locusts have eaten.” (Joel 2:25)
Yet there are vital flaws to this book as well. It is difficult to watch unwise choices repeatedly made, such as not cancelling a shared debit card/bank account the ex-husband has already stolen from which puts a home mortgage in jeopardy, which allows him to do it again. And while betrayal within a heterosexual marriage is never okay, the way the ex-husband’s own transgender journey is handled reads as unnecessarily homophobic and transphobic. Most importantly, INTO THE WILDERNESS should not just deluge readers with one unbelievably horrible and frustrating occurrence after another without also offering adequate scenes of restoration and how things eventually turn around so that, by the conclusion, the audience is left fulfilled, perhaps even inspired. Unfortunately this lengthy narrative is 97% details about the wrongdoings that occur at the hands of an endless array of personal and professional contacts, and it concludes with only a brief summary stating the author eventually was able to move into a nice house and have a better life. This does not do the full story justice; especially for any readers who might similarly being going through tough times battling exes or systems, who are looking for hope, along with ideas about how to fix their own situations.
The author is likened to Erin Brockovich, who took on chemical poisoning by a giant utility, but in Ms. Brockovich’s case the little guys won. And though Ms. Brockovich has gone on to fight more Goliaths, that first story detailed exactly how the initial battle was fought, and savored its successes. Even if the overall war against injustice continues and every villain has not yet been made to pay by the time Karen Marie Dion’s story concludes, since the author did make it out the other side after brutal home seizures, business losses, etc., readers will want to see how and hear more about what kind of life she is living now before her story ends.
While Karen Marie Dion’s memoir INTO THE WILDERNESS: One Woman’s Extraordinary Journey through Corruption, Lies, and Betrayal explores timely and important links and themes it fails to offer a satisfactory explanation of how she finally overcame them.
~C.S. Holmes for IndieReader