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The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant

The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant: Dogtown was a real place in early Massachusetts, reaching its peak population around the turn of the 19th century. Near the end, most of the inhabitants were misfits and loners: widows, freedmen, escaped slaves, prostitutes, and supposed witches. This story, detailing the last decade or so of the settlement, is not so much historical fiction as fiction inspired by history. Little is known about the residents of Dogtown, but this tale weaves a beautiful tapestry of birth and death, love and hate, kindness and cruelty. I think my favorite characters were Cornelius and Easter, and though I was disappointed in the tale of Sammy, it was a reaction to his decisions in life, not the writing style. All the characters felt real, like old friends. The time period fascinated me too, giving me a real sense for how ordinary people lived without weighing it down with famous historical events or people. This book was my introduction to the much-heralded Diamant, and I was not disappointed. Good Harbor is already on the TBR pile; I’ll have to keep an eye out for The Red Tent.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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