The Last Days of Dogtown, by Anita Diamant (New York: Scribner, 2006)
"Set on the high ground at the heart of Cape Ann, the village of Dogtown is peopled by widows, orphans, spinsters, scoundrels, whores, free Africans, and 'witches.' Among the inhabitants of this hamlet are Black Ruth, who dresses as a man and works as a stonemason; Mrs. Stanley, an imperious madam whose grandson, Sammy, comes of age in her brothel; Oliver Younger, who survives a miserable childhood at the hands of his aunt; and Cornelius Finson, a freed slave. At the center of it all is Judy Rhines, a fiercely independent soul, deeply lonely, who nonetheless builds a life for herself against all imaginable odds. Rendered in stunning, haunting detail, with Diamant's keen ear for language and profound compassion for her characters, The Last Days of Dogtown is an extraordinary retelling of a long-forgotten chapter of early American life."
"Judy Rhines decided to take the footpath through the pasture."
Outstanding, gentle book with memorable characters.
- Ithaca, New York
- MWF, now officially 42, loves long walks on the beach and laughing with friends ... oh, wait. By day, I'm a mid-level university administrator reluctant to be more specific on a public forum. Nights and weekends, though, I'm a homebody with strong nerdist leanings. I'm never happier than when I'm chatting around the fire, playing board games, cooking up some pasta, and/or road-tripping with my family and friends. I studied psychology and then labor economics in school, and I work in higher education. From time to time I get smug, obsessive, or just plain boring about some combination of these topics, especially when inequality, parenting, or consumer culture are involved. You have been warned.