Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Stranger in the Wood: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

How I Heard About It:  My Twitter buddy Scott Fillner "tweeted" about this novel.  I checked the app Cloud Library to see if they had it.  They did.  I downloaded it and listened to it while driving and mowing this summer.  

What It Is About:  In 1986 Chris Knight parked his car, walked into the deep woods of Maine, and didn't come out for 27 years.  No, he didn't get lost.  No, he was abducted.  He went in by choice.  He stayed by choice.  At a young age, he knew he didn't want to live in the "crazy and busy" world.  He preferred his solitude.  One might ask, how was he able to live off the land for so many years.  Chris became a thief and began taking objects, food, and equipment from different cabins around the lake.  The residents of this community couldn't figure out what was going on and why so many items went missing.  One law enforcement officer may it a goal to find who was responsible for these thefts.  After a search, he found Chris Knight and he was arrested for many counts of stealing.  When Michael Finkel found out about this man, he began to visit him in jail and conduct a series of interviews.  Those interviews turned into this story which read as a novel.  

What I Thought Of It:  I'm not normally a fan of nonfiction, but do know that it is a "book gap" in my reading life.  If I'm going to read this genre, I prefer narrative nonfiction.  This was such a fascinating read/listen.  The narration was top-notch and riveting to listen to.  I just kept thinking how long Chris was out in those woods alone.  I'm one for alone time, but this is taking it to an extreme.  I liked how the author included information about other "hermits" around the world.  The debate between people who thought Chris should be prosecuted and others who thought he should just receive help was one that I had with myself while listening to the story.  I'm so glad I took Scott's recommendation and listened to the story.  I'm even thinking I may dive into more stories similar to this one.  

Who Should Read It:  I would recommend this story to all adult readers.  I think both fiction and nonfiction readers would be satisfied equally.  High School readers would also be an appropriate audience as it would make for deep and meaningful discussions.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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