What makes a man turn his back on society? What makes him return?
For years a man calling himself Will Power lived in near-total isolation in northern New South Wales, foraging for food, eating bats and occasionally trading for produce.
But who was this mysterious man who roamed the forest and knew all of its secrets and riddles? Some people thought he might be Jesus. Others feared he was a more sinister figure.
The truth was that he was neither miraculous nor malevolent, but he was, most certainly, gifted. And when he finally emerged from the forest, emaciated and close to death, he was determined to reclaim his real name and ‘give society another chance’.
Today, Dr Gregory Peel Smith, who left school at the age of fourteen, has a PhD and teaches in the Social Sciences at university. His profoundly touching and uplifting memoir is at once a unique insight into how far off track a life can go and powerful reminder that we can all find our way back if we pause for a moment in the heart of the forest.
A lost soul myself, done it tough, single mother, constant self doubt now studying two degrees and working part time. Hitting brick walls every step and fighting the low socio-economic issues life throws at me with societies judgement (people scowling when I turn up to uni in a 30yr old Carolla that squeals - no don’t assume I drive this thing by choice or because I spend my money on drugs - it’s because I’m a single parent trying to make ends meet and study for a better future). Gregory’s book has inspired me to keep going. I cried at moments of his success as it’s my dream to also succeed at my studies. Not giving up! It’s nice to hear someone has come from this background and achieved such great success. It’s sad that so many more people don’t have the courage or the tools to do this. Thank you Gregory you are a true battler and my inspiration.
Out of the forest
Continue to grow and learn
Powerful, tragic yet so positive
Read this book over 2 short evenings and a Saturday. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. Which is unusual for me. Found this captivating especially having grown up in Tamworth/Armidale and lived in or visited every other place Gregory talks about. A truly remarkable and moving story, especially “at the end”.
A friend had lent it to me so now I’m buying this for all my family. Highly recommend.