As a New Englander and frequent visitor to Cape Ann and Good Harbor Beach, I was greatly looking forward to reading Anita Diamant’s book, The Last Days of Dogtown. This is a historical novel set in the small community of Dogtown, outside of Gloucester, MA, during the early 1800’s. Dogtown is inhabited by a smattering of misfits who, either by choice or bad fortune, end up living on the outskirts of town. In a loose collection of vignettes about these townsfolk, the book creates a patchwork consisting of relationships, secrets and events that tie these people together, revealing a glimpse of the human spirit, both good and evil. It ultimately leads up to the time when Dogtown is no more, as people either die or move away. It’s a harsh life up there in northern MA and for the most part the characters trudge through their lives with difficulty, though not without friendships and love. Despite the richly drawn characters and starkly beautiful scenery I felt the book was missing something. I think perhaps the presence of one strong character would have saved it for me, but in the end I was somewhat disappointed. Still…a good read.
February 11, 2011
The Last Days Of Dogtown: A Review By Jean