Last Updated 12 Mar 2023

In The Lake Of The Woods by Tim OBrien

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In the book (O’Brien, 1995) “In The Lake Of The Woods” by Author, Tim O’Brien, the author was able to convince me that I was there on September 19, 1986, when the woman disappeared close to the lake in Northern Minnesota. The vanishing of Kathy Wade was eerie and I was constantly asking myself what could have happened to this woman. Did she drown in the lake? The possibilities were endless and the author kept me in suspense as I feared the worst in this situation that took place in the woods. Kathy’s husband John who was a politician seemed to be an immediate suspect in Kathy’s disappearance.

His character didn’t seem like one that was very respectable and although he was very handsome, which made him seem less of a suspect, his downward spiral in his political career did raise questions of his innocence. When the Wade family drove to the woods in Minnesota, I knew that they were going to be in for a fearful adventure. The secret tunnels and doors were quite interesting but the underground chamber was terrifying! Anything was liable to happen down there and it did raise vivid images of the spooky quarters. One thing could easily turn into something else at any given moment in this haunting tale.

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How could John Wade go from being a magician to a killer of the woman that he was supposed to love? From the very beginning of the story, it was as if you knew that Kathy was going to vanish but there was always hope that she would be found, throughout the entire story and I did try to visualize something happening to her that didn’t involve her husband. This story was able to take me backward and forward throughout the book, talking about different periods of time, which all had to do with the ultimate question of “What happened to Kathy?

” John Wade, the soldier, you just didn’t want to believe that he was a murderer, although his friends in Vietnam did refer to him as a Sorcerer because of his magic tricks, which seemed to flow in the story. Was he capable of love or was that just an illusion or just another one of his many tricks he held up his sleeve. That question was always on my mind. Kathy did know some things about John, because she sometimes called him “Inspector Clouseau” just another one of the many names that people that had been associated with, called him.

He was easily transferred from one title to another, and each title was just as interesting as the last. He was a character with many talents, I suppose, including murder, perhaps? You did have to wonder if maybe Kathy was in that house. Was she a part of the magic that was inside or was she at the bottom of the lake in the woods? This story is very spooky and a little evil. I wonder what kind of mind did the author possess, himself to be able to come up with some of his ideas that made John Wade such an exceptional character in this book.

Did the author have some of the same characteristics of this man, John Wade or did he just make it all up? I think that all authors have some of the traits and qualities that they describe in their writing and I tried to sort through the reading and pick out some of those traits and associate them with the author. Was he into magic tricks and murder or perhaps he fought in a war and wanted to describe some of the events that he was recalling. This book is so engrossed in questions and I still have to wonder how one man could have so many different personalities.

He was a politician, possible murderer, fighter in Vietnam, magician. He was handsome and obviously charming because of the fact that he seduced his wife and was successful in marrying Kathy. She must have trusted her husband, fully. I would have liked to have been able to read more about Kathy, while she was still alive in this story. I’m positive that she would have been able to shed more light on this story and possibly talk about the more private side of her husband’s personal life; things that only a wife would know about their mate.

She would have been able to talk about his very personal side and maybe shed some light on what was going to happen to her in this story. She could have possibly predicted her own death and talked about it and maybe she could have left behind some clear hints of her ultimate fate. This story is extremely scary and confusing, without any doubt. It tends to make you not trust people, fully. It leaves an empty feeling inside you as if you had witnessed a horrible event. You always want to hold that inch of faith that maybe people aren’t as bad as they probably truly are.

In all reality, I think we should trust no human who possesses these traits as did John Wade. If I ever hear of a person talking about being ten different people in one, I will resort back to this eerie story and remember this character, immediately! He was one of those literary figures that gives you horrible nightmares and makes you question some of his innumerous talents that you may have seen in another human being and never wondered about, before reading the book.

I’m sure that I won’t be able to sleep after reading this story. It really wasn’t one of my favorite stories, although it was very interesting the way the author described the characters and events. His description of the events wasn’t lacking. It was the horror of it all that didn’t win my heart. There’s just something about being in the woods that makes you automatically feel like you want to leave, which is great for those people who love horror stories. The secret chambers would be incredible but terrifying!

I guess that both John and Kathy were vanished into a crazy existence. Who knows where these two people were but I’m sure it was somewhere in the woods by the lake in Minnesota. Tim O’Brien is an incredible writer and does get the imagination going at full speed! I would like to read more of his writing but something a little less frightening, next time! What a crazy and tantalizing story. It is one that I won’t soon forget! Reference Page O’Brien, Tim. (1995). “In the Lake Of The Woods”. Penguin USA.

Writing Quality

Grammar mistakes

F (59%)


A (100%)

Redundant words

F (52%)




D (66%)

Total mark


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