Compulsive Overreader

Along with borderline hypergraffia, my other literary disorder is -- I'm a compulsive overreader. I'd like to say that I'm trying to get it under control, but I'm clearly not. Check out the archives here to find what I'm reading and what I think of it. If you came here directly through blogger --if your page has no yellow frames and no pretty pic of me in the top left corner -- you may want to visit my main site at, where you can read this blog and much much more.


I'm Trudy Morgan-Cole, a writer from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. My books include "The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson," "Esther: A Story of Courage," and "Deborah and Barak." I'm also a married mom of two, a teacher in an adult-ed program, and a Christian of the Seventh-day Adventist kind. I blog about writing, reading, parenting, teaching, spirituality, and shiny things that catch my eye.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Last Days of Dogtown, by Anita Diamant

One of my many soft spots is for towns and villages that have ceased to exist -- the resettled Newfoundland outports, the "ghost towns", the places that time passed by. (I cried during Cars when they played the song "Our Town" over the montage showing the decline of the town. I cry at Springsteen's My Hometown). I thought I might cry over The Last Days of Dogtown, Diamant's novel about a dying New England town and the last residents who cling to the place.

Set in the early 1800s, The Last Days of Dogtown is not really a novel as much as a collection of linked short stories. No single narrative drive moves the book forward; instead we are introduced to a motley crew of desperate and eccentric characters -- some who live on in Dogtown, some who leave it for more up-and-coming places but retain some of the town's spirit in them.

At first I thought the cast of characters was too eccentric, and their fates too depressing, for me to become really engaged with the book. However, as it went on, I found that the book, and its characters, grew on me. I did care about them and was happy to see that some, at least, found happy endings. What didn't become real for me was the fate of Dogtown itself -- perhaps because there was no glimpse of what it might have been like as a living, thriving community. Diamant's book honours the passing of a town -- Dogtown was, in fact, a real place, though Diamant's stories of its residents are more imagination than history -- but, for me, failed to make that passing genuinely moving. Which is to say, I didn't cry.


Blogger Biks Wigglesworth said...

To see actual photos of Dogtown, further reading or a map of the Babson boulders in Dogtown, go here:The Dacrons Dogtown site

5:48 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home