The Last Days of Dogtown

The Last Days of Dogtown

by Anita Diamant


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The Last Days of Dogtown 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
jessJD More than 1 year ago
This book was very unique in its structure. In the first chapter, we meet all the inhabitants of Dogtown as they come together to look over the dead body of Abraham Wharf. Meeting so many characters at once was a little overwhelming, I worried that I would not remember everyone. However, each subsequent chapter tells a story about one of the characters that we meet in the beginning. Through each of these stories, we learn more and more about the individuals who make Dogtown their home. Around half way through the novel, I realized that I cared what happened to some of these characters, I didn't want Oliver to get into trouble and ruin his future and I wanted Judy to find love. Overall, a beautifully written book about a difficult time in early American history, ripe with interesting and entertaining characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is brlliant. Don't find the first chapter daunting. You will meet all of the town's inhabitants and although it may seem overwhelming, all the characters soon become individuals with their own stories and plot lines. This is a wonderful book. I could not put it down and strongly recommend it to any one who enjoys good literature..
blondestranger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is hard to compete with the depth of emotion of Anita Diamant's most popular novel, The Red Tent. But, this book was definitely an enjoyable story. Each sad Dogtown story was woven together and inter-mingled with the others. Listening to this book on audio, I actually had to listen to the first cd twice to keep the characters straight. I even caught myself a few times throughout the book catching myself in confusion over which character was which. Uncondidtional love and support contrasted with hatred and in many cases, forced tolerance were fascinating to uncover as we learned more about the backgrounds and histories of each Dogtown resident. Wonderful depiction of the hardship and struggles of the early colonial times.
PghDragonMan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having so completely enjoyed The Red Tent, I could not wait to read more works by Anita Diamant. In The Last Days of Dogtown, Diamant takes on a much more secular topic, the residents and history of a small settlement on the Massachusetts coast in the early 19th Century. There is historical evidence of such a settlement and many of the characters portrayed in this novel, but the detailed stories of the characters are products of Anita Diamant¿s smoothly flowing words.Equal credit should be given to Kate Nelligan, the narrator of the audio book version, for bringing each person to life for your ears. Ms Nelligan reproduces a wide range of accents, both regional and ethnic, and matches them perfectly to each character, giving each a distinctive voice. The vocal performance does not detract from the story, but blends nicely into it.If you¿ve ever visited a historic city, or seen a ruin in a deserted location, and wondered, ¿What was this really like in its day?¿, Dogtown will appeal to you. With the mix of cast off people, freed slaves, working girls looking to get by, reputed witches, hidden family secrets and gossipy neighbors, there¿s a little something for everyone¿s tastes here. Diamant uses the gossip between neighbors, and not all friendly neighbors, to keep us apprised of all the behind the scenes activity. Each of the main characters comes into focus for some of the chapters and then, makes their exit.Overall, you are left with a pretty bleak picture of life in Dogtown. Given the town¿s location and historical reputation, I¿d have to say it is probably accurate and representative of the times. It is no wonder the settlement was finally abandoned. Don¿t abandon this book, however, it is too wonderful a story. If you¿ve never tried historical fiction, this is a good one to begin with as the history is just sketchy enough the author can be forgiven for taking any literary liberties with the setting. It is also interesting to reflect on how this old settlement and the characters could, with very little updating, be adapted to a modern setting. It really makes you wonder how far we¿ve really come since the early 1800¿s.
jopearson56 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Got a gift certificate for the Friends of the Library bookstore as a gift for National Library Week (or something ... ), and this was one of my purchases. I'd really enjoyed Diamant's The Red Tent, so was ready to try something else by her. This was airport reading enroute to visit family in Portland; got through my airport books fast due to lengthy weather delays in Dallas: much much reading time. Set in early 1800s Massachusetts, and inspired by the settlement of Dogtown, Diamant reimagines the community of castoffs¿widows, prostitutes, orphans, African-Americans and ne'er-do-wells¿all eking out a harsh living in the barren terrain of Cape Ann. It's a fascinating story without a lot of drama, but nonetheless compelling for that. Great characterizations, wonderful period details., flowing language, so many individuals' stories interwoven.
bkoopman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lives wax and wane, building and diminishing like the moon and the tides. But eventually, unlike the ceaseless rhythms of the tide, life ends, and sometimes there is not a cycle but a period. The story of the last days of Dogtown got me thinking about the ghost towns I've visited, and the abandoned homesteads I've vacated. Where are their stories kept, I wonder. Do they represent stopping points along a long path, or end points? The Last Days of Dogtown is filled with characters that I am glad to have known, for a bit. Some painted surly, others compassionate or witty; all of them familar.
claudiabowman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A quick and lovely read. The characters feel like real people, and Diamant strikes just the right tone.
melydia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
CasualFriday on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A motley group of people live in a hardscrabble town in Cape Ann in the early 19th century. The nephew of a nasty old bat overcomes his childhood to make a happy marriage with a nice girl. An independent woman falls in love with a free African. A nasty alcoholic thinks he sees an angel and reforms himself, becoming obnoxiously pious until he falls off the wagon again. A nearly-mute African woman dresses like a man and seeks the truth about the murder of her mother.As you can see from the synopsis, this is more of a collection of vignettes than a traditional novel. It reads nothing like The Red Tent, which had a coherent and propulsive narrative despite its many characters. In fact, I disliked Dogtown until about 75% of the way through, when it suddenly began to coalesce for me and I started feeling something for the characters. I ended up liking the book and admiring the structure, although this kind of narrative will never be my favorite.
rcooper3589 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this book at a yard sale and quickly scooped it up. I loved Diamant's "The Red Tent" (which I highly reccommend!), so I was excited when I found another one of her books. This was a fast read- it took me about a week to get through it- which is amazing with how slow I read! I enjoyed the book (although not as much as "The Red Tent") and how the town itself is the main character. I liked how the book "jumped" from inhabitant to inhabitant and how each person's story was intertwined with everyone elses- even if they didn't know it! I found each character was fully developed and well rounded- something I liked. Diamant's women characters are strong and independant (a theme also found in "The Red Tent")- but they're not mean or unloveable like they tend to be in some other novels. Overall, I enjoyed the book. If you're looking for a short, fast and fun book then pick this one up!
booksandbosox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beautiful. Very simply written, but the characters are so richly developed that you fall in love with Dogtown and its residents. I think Anita Diamant is one of the most gifted writers of our times. I wish there were more novels from her to read! Though this story was at times quite depressing, I really treasured reading this. Highly recommended!
cwmlcampbell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rather interesting, different and fun style of writing. There isnt really one main character, and each chapter is the life of a particular character with all characters lives tied to the other characters. There is not really a climax either. Reading this book was like watching the highlights of a persons life.
dihiba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in one day. The characters are believable and likeable. I am looking forward to The Red Tent.
barefeet4 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sort of depressing but very well written. The characters came to life with all of their quirks and short comings and secrets.
TanyaTomato on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good - stories of people in a small settlement in early 1800's. I really liked the people and it was heartbreaking to see them suffer. Anita paints a good picture.
kwells on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Toward the middle of this book, I was a little disappointed that I hadn't learned more about the person I was most interested in - the very first character introduced in the book. But as the book went on and the character's lives began to intertwine and to be explained, I began enjoying the book more.
sammimag on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I listened to the audio book and enjoyed it very much. Kate Nelligan was the narrator.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
with characters you will not forget . .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm little over half way thru the book -- giving snippets of peoples' lives makes it difficult to connect with/care about the individual characters. Forcing myself to finish in the hopes it ties together in the end somehow. But at this point, glad it's only 238 pages and that I bought it as a Daily Find, not at full price.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished this book in hardback. Loved the characters. All rather odd. I held my breath sometimes hoping for the best for all of them, but expecting the worst. I was surprised many times. Well worth your time and money! A+++++++++
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