Book: ‘Meža meitas. 12 sievietes par dzīvi mājās, mežā, cietumā’* by Sanita Reinsone

*If you translate the title of the book to English, it would be something like this: “Daughters of woods. 12 women about their life at home, in forest, in prison”. This is not a book about magical ferries living in woods. It’s a book with ruthless, truth stories from the lives of those woman who were by different reasons ‘forced’ to go to live/hide in forests of Latvia.

Each of the 12 stories has its own unique style. I would call it ‘granny-style’, because, when I was reading the book, in each story, I really had the impression to talking to an elderly woman, listening her story and experience. Experience, that I would never wish to anyone… All the stories are very personal, therefore I enjoyed that the author has conserved the individual language of each story, giving the book the authenticity and the realisticity. Knowing that this part of the history has happened also to my family*, this book touches me even more.

However, while reading the book, I was wondering how those people, despite the living conditions (bunkers dug in soil, in woods; cold winters; living very closely to each other – with small personal space), still managed to have sex and babies. That’s crazy!

Sometimes, when seeing those cut-out forests along the roads, I catch myself thinking: “If that would happen now, would people be able to hide in those cut-out woods that? And survive not only for few days, but for many years… Would there be selfless people that are eager to help others (even unknown people), knowing that the act imposes the danger to themselves?”

Here are some wise quotes from elderly woman (translated from Latvian):

  • The biggest murder sometimes is mental destruction of a human. […] we always have to be careful to say bad things about other people, because we don’t know if that’s true or not.
  • One cannot become nice by being forced, each falls in love with the person that is destined to him/her.
  • He very well understood that you can learn everything. Also at a very late age.
  • Don’t you ever be afraid of work. Doesn’t matter what kind of job you are doing, don’t you ever think that you cannot or don’t want to.


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