Read The Last Days Of Dogtown by Anita Diamant Online


Set in the early 1800s and based loosely on published accounts of an abandoned rural backwater near the Massachusetts coastline, 'The Last Days of Dogtown' reimagines and reinvents the stories of a small group of eccentrics and misfits - reputedly the last residents of the ghost town....

Title : The Last Days Of Dogtown
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780330491679
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 174 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Last Days Of Dogtown Reviews

  • Jodi
    2019-01-24 03:46

    After reading The Red Tent, I was eager to read more by this author. The blurb about this book stated ".....Dogtown is peopled by widow, orphans, spinsters, scoundrels, whores, free Africans and 'witches.'" Hmmmmm - sounds interesting. The blurb went on to talk about Ruth who dresses as a man and works as a stone mason (this is set in the early 1800's), Sammy who has a miserable childhood being raised in a brothel, Oliver Younger who is being raised by a wicked aunt, and Cornelius who is a freed slave. All of these characters descriptions intrigued me and so I began to read the book. Could have been a wonderful story, but it kind of rambled on at the beginning and was hard to get into it. I stuck with it though, and in the end, I was interested enough in each characters life to wish them happiness and a better life. The book takes place over many decades and you learn about the characters at different points in their lives. Good enough, but not like The Red Tent.

  • Kristen
    2019-02-10 06:56

    Anita Diamant's characters from this book stayed with me for months after I turned the last page. While I was reading the book, I found it lacking in details and context. Yet, once I was done, I decided that I had just enough information to make all of the characters extremely real to me.This is a book about a dying shore town whose industry had all moved elsewhere. There are some women who live alone -- either never married or widowed -- in this old town. They subsist off of the land and some small, odd jobs. But mainly they are just biding their time and surviving until they, too, will die.The whole portrait of this dying town, and the ways that life still goes on in a dying town, fascinated me. I would have liked for this book to be 4 times as long so I could have had more detail about each character and day-to-day life in Dogtown.

  • Stephanie
    2019-02-07 06:56

    Here is the conversation I had with my husband the other night when I was on my way out the door to book club:HUSBAND: What book are you doing?ME: Last Days of Dogtown.HUSBAND: Cool… I still want to see the movie.ME: I’m pretty sure it hasn’t been made into a movie (trying to picture how a modern day director might handle such scenes as public urination and “pipe playing”).HUSBAND: Yeah, you remember… I think Heath Ledger was in it.ME: Oh, LORDS of Dogtown (relieved to finally be understanding).HUSBAND: Right, that’s not what you’re reading?ME: Not even close.Given the choice, I’d pick this character-driven story over the history of skateboarding any day. It was a smooth read, and not as depressing as I had assumed once a few of the characters found their way out of misery and into the warm (if brief) light of genuine happiness. It reminded me of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row in the way I found myself rooting for some of the inhabitants of Dogtown. I found it to be a light touch on the subject of race, but what there was on that topic was thoughtfully rendered. Overall a good read, good enough to rob me of my well-earned sleep a few nights in a row.

  • Jennifer
    2019-02-09 23:43

    Immediately I finished this book, I began to look into the true history of Dogtown and was fascinated to find that the characters and events portrayed by Diamant are based in fact. I found repeated references to these characters (whose real names Diamant has preserved in her novel) and indications that many of the novel's plot points are inspired by legends which surround the real Dogtown. I was even able to discover current maps and photos of the area which is now a park that can be visited for hiking and picnics.All the historical facts aside, this is a good novel. The prose is sparse in keeping with the subject matter and perfectly suited to the story at hand. It is rather like a sketch made with a very few strokes of the pencil, spare and powerful.Because Dogtown is becoming a ghost town, the characters have a rather haunting, or perhaps haunted, quality. As one by one, their neighbors move away, as the houses are one by one abandoned, those who remain live alongside the ghosts of the past and seem to become increasingly transparent themselves. And haunted is how I felt when I was reading. It isn't an altogether pleasant feeling but it seems appropriate in this case.

  • Heidi
    2019-01-29 03:42

    This has just become one of my favorite books... I can't imagine anyone could read this and not fall in love with Dogtown and its people. The characters are so well developed; some funny and quirky, others horrid and unloveable, and, of course, some honest and flawless. The description of the town and the going-ons around the town are captivating.

  • Arlene
    2019-01-28 22:44

    I can't say I enjoyed this book. The characters live such difficult lives. I find it hard to read books about the down-trodden, especially if they are abused, physically or emotionally. And emotional and physical abuse, discrimination, and cruelty abound in this book. I just want to bury my head in the sand, and not be reminded that people like John Stanwood are allowed to exist.I find myself torn between giving this 4 stars, because the author does a good job of portraying their sad lives, or 2 stars, because I really didn't enjoy the book. So I'm settling for 3 stars.And yet, there are characters to rise above their circumstances to exhibit friendship, caring and bountiful kindness. The relationships of these lonely people, living their hard-scrabble lives in the dying community of Dogtown are encouraging.Even the strongest characters in the book - Easter Carter, Judy Rhines, Cornelius Finson, Black Ruth, Oliver Younger - face periods of desperation. In this way, the characters are real.

  • Kendra
    2019-01-22 23:38

    After recently finishing (and loving) The Red Tent, I was excited to find another Anita Diamant book seemingly sitting on the shelf just waiting for me to pluck it up and take it home. Now that I've finished it, I have to say I'm disappointed. TLDOG is about the last citizens of a small town in Massachusetts in the 1800s. They all live hardscrabble lives trying to get by in a town where the resources are dwindling. As the old people die off, there are few young people to replace them. Based on a real town, I understand Diamant's desire to create her own story of what happened to these people, to acknoledge that they lived and breathed and loved once upon a time. And while most of the characters are somewhat interesting, she doesn't light on any one long enough for the reader to really invest in them. Eventually everyone leaves Dogtown in one way or the other, which the reader would happen from the beginning. In the end I had just one thought, "who cares?"

  • Rhonda
    2019-02-05 05:46

    This is NO "Red Tent". :(I spent the first half really wanting it to be about someone in particular, and I guess it sort of did come full circle through all the characters in the end, but what it really was about was Dogtown itself. The title says that, but I guess I kept wanting to identify with someone in particular and it never happened. Just about the time I warmed up to one character the story shifted it's focus to someone else. The book was ABOUT Dogtown, but it's voice was through Dogtown's characters and it came across like a series of related vignettes, which I guess is okay, but it wasn't what I was expecting. I guess I really wanted to identify with a particular someone and never really could because the time period and characters shifted constantly.And goodness gracious! How SAD! This book is full of regrets and missed opportunities and guilt and poor circumstances! :( Definitely not any sort of "fortifying" read at all. I really looked forward to loving this when I picked it up, but... no.

  • Janice
    2019-02-16 06:03

    Anita Diamant is on the honour roll for character development! I don't know that I've read a book before that had so many richly developed characters. Each one of the Dogtown residents had multi layers of personality, motives, and viewpoints. Even the dogs and the town were characterized.Anita Diamant's story was inspired by an article she read about the ghost town in Cape Ann, Massachusetts. I went online to see if there was such a place. There was indeed a town named Dogtown and legends about Judy Rhines, Tammy Younger, and Cornelius "Black Neil".Each chapter was like a vignette showcasing individual characters and their circumstances. By the end of the book, as the last resident of Dogtown was moved to the workhouse, Diamant had tied them all together as a cohesive story about the trials and tribulations of the town that was known as Dogtown.This was an audiobook narrated by Kate Mulligan who did a wonderful job in giving a voice to each character.

  • Sarah
    2019-02-15 23:47

    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!

  • Linda
    2019-02-06 06:56

    Dogtown is a community of social outcasts located a few miles from Gloucester on Cape Ann. This novel begins in the winter of 1814 on the day of the death of Abraham Wharf. In the first chapter we are introduced to the residents of Dogtown as they arrive at the home of Easter Carter to pay their last respects. There is a hint of mystery surrounding the death of Mr. Wharf, but the mystery was overridden by the fascinating stories of the Dogtown people in the following chapters.

  • Barbara
    2019-02-02 22:47

    I read this several years ago and recall picking it up because of the setting on Cape Ann. I read Diamant for this reason and wasn't diappointed in this one of hers.

  • Sara
    2019-01-31 23:06

    When an author writes a wonderful book, you tend to always hope that the next book of hers you read will equal or exceed it. Diamant has never been able to live up to the standard she set in The Red Tent. Perhaps if I had not approached this book with so much hope, I would have liked it better.With a cast of unique and interesting characters, Dogtown has great potential. At the outset, I think Diamant bounces from one character to another too often and arbitrarily, so that just when I thought I might become involved with them, she moved on to someone new. In the end, however, I did feel somewhat invested in Judy Rhines, who emerges as perhaps the "main" character. I found it quite interesting when I learned that most of these characters actually existed and that the fate of Dogtown is accurately depicted. Perhaps truth is indeed stranger than fiction.I wanted to love this book. I felt bits and pieces of empathy and understanding for the inhabitants of Dogtown. I felt for the bleakness of life for these last people resigned to live in this area that carried with it so much stigma. I liked the parallel between the people and the dogs themselves, who had given the area its name so many years before. I would not discourage anyone who said they were planning to read this book, but I would also not tell anyone it was a book not to be missed.If this review sounds equivocal, it is because I can feel myself with one foot on either side of the fence. If this were my first Diamant, I would not hesitate to read her again, but on the heels of The Red Tent, it cannot help disappointing a bit.

  • Faith Justice
    2019-02-02 07:02

    I picked this book up because I loved Diamant's The Red Tent. I knew she had written a contemporary novel, which I had not read, but this intrigued me. It's the story of a small group of people - widows, orphans, scoundrels, whores and free Africans - who inhabit the titular Dogtown, a small village on the heights of Cape Ann in Massachusetts. The story starts in 1814 with the death of a prominent citizen and follows the main characters over the next twenty years entwining their stories, flashing back to lost or deliberately mislaid lives as the town gradually dies. There was a real Dogtown, but the characters are all Diamant's. She builds a solid story with interesting characters. I recommend this.I have an interview with Ms. Diamant on both my website and blog.From the flap: "Among the inhabitants of Dogtown are Black Ruth, an African woman who dresses as a man and works as a stone mason; Mrs. Stanley, an imperious madam whose grandson, Sammy comes of age in her rural brothel; Oliver Younger, who survives a miserable childhood at the hands of a very strange aunt; and Cornelius Finson, a freed slave whose race denies him everything. At the center of it all is Judy Rhines, a fiercely independent soul, deeply lonely, who nonetheless builds a life for herself and inspires those around her to become more generous and tolerant themselves."

  • Karen S.
    2019-01-25 05:52

    The Last Days of Dogtown is a loosely historical tale of the end of a small village on Cape Ann, Mass.However, the novel doesn't really focus on the place as much as on a cast of wonderfully idiosyncratic characters. The reader becomes privy to the tightly held secrets of all of the denizens from my favorite, Cornelius...referred to as the freed African...who is a source of love and support for the weaker inhabitants to Easter, a jovial innkeeper who knows everything about everyone, but is quite discrete for all of that. Diamant does an amazing job of portraying each individual replete with strengths and sometimes hideous flaws in a way that made me feel like they could become the inhabitants of any community and find someone there who could care about them. And that probably is what kept me reading steadily and joyfully. The structure of the book is interesting too in that each chapter really could stand alone as a short story, but the involvement of most of the characters in each story makes that story so much richer.

  • Lisa
    2019-01-30 05:43 That is how I would describe this book. Loved the red tent and this cannot even compete. I think I liked it more than Good Harbor, although they are about equal. The characters are interesting but never really made it to a level where I felt like I knew what they were all about. It annoyed me that I never really got a good sense of them before they ended up in Dogtown and quite frankly, it was kind of depressing in many ways, and not in a 'makes you think about life' kind of way- more like a 'damn, is this what most people end up like?' kind of way, if that makes any sense. The description made it sound like Judy was really a main character, but the book is about a host of characters, and Judy gets a little more time than the others, but it seemed to be more about this sort of sad group of people who made do in life & that was it. Not really uplifting or particularly interesting for me. I'm interested to hear what my book group thinks, though!!!

  • Callie
    2019-02-14 06:56

    I picked up this novel because I remember so loving The Red Tent a few years back. I don't think I enjoyed The Last Days of Dogtown with the same passion that I remember loving the Red Tent, but I found it well written and completed listening to all 9 cds in a relatively short amount of time, so I must have enjoyed it. I hesitate to give it too many stars however because I don't believe that I would recommend this book to many people. It was an interesting weaving together of the lives and trial and tribulations of many characters--all whom were members of the down trodden. And I enjoy a good historical fiction. I particularly found myself drawn to Judi and Cornelius and Olliver. However, I found that perhaps the novel was too disparate--attempting to focus too much on so many characters' stories so that I didn't find myself captivated and moved so much by any one alone.

  • Lynn
    2019-02-04 23:06

    Beautifully written historical fiction about forgotten outcasts. Very moving conclusion. Dogtown is no more.

  • Mindy Kannon
    2019-02-11 05:04

    Really like this book. It wasn't exciting or captivating but it was a very soft and comfortable read about a place and time, long ago. Sweet

  • Julie Barichello
    2019-02-06 00:51

    This novel pleasantly surprised me.The first chapter about the death of Abraham Wharf set me up to believe Anita Diamant's tale of a dying 19th century town would be a dull, dragging bore. The imagery made me a imagine the characters and setting in shades of brown and gray -- 261 pages of gloom and depression. I nearly abandoned the book, but I have a rule of never giving up after Chapter 1. Every novel deserves a few chapters to establish itself.How grateful I am that I adhered to my rule! Each chapter follows the life of a different resident of Dogtown, weaving the supporting cast in and out of each other's chapter in a tapestry that follows nearly a decade of the town's demise as older residents pass away and younger ones move away.The description of the cast on the dust jacket is what made me pluck this book from the library shelf. There is Ruth, a black woman who tries to live her life with a man's name, work and wardrobe; there is Judy, an unmarried white woman who pines for the love of a freed slave; there is Cornelius, the freed slave who abandons Judy's love; Easter Carter, the collector of town gossip; Molly and Sally and Mrs. Stanley, the town prostitutes (or "Doxies of Dogtown"); old Tammy Younger, a bitter old bat who finds bitter pleasure in suspicion of being the town witch; and a variety of others.The novel is purely character-driven. One by one, the reader follows each character's departure from Dogtown, whether by death or moving to the nearby town of Gloucester. In death, Diamant glosses over nothing and spares no detail. Some characters meet with more gruesome fates than others. Not all (in fact, very few) have a happy ending to their tale.Despite the sometimes brutal treatment of the characters, the novel has plenty of humor. I uttered a legitimate LOL ("laugh out loud" for any of you who aren't savvy in Internet/text messaging lingo) at the chapter about the brutal John Stanwood believing he saw an angel and his humorous attempts to change his drunkenly, carousing ways.I didn't expect to get as absorbed into this book as I did; however, I devoured it in two sittings over a weekend. Although not outstanding in its language, style or plot, it still stands out as memorable and is well worth the handful of hours to read.

  • Christie
    2019-02-08 23:58

    Read this for book club. The story was exhausting. Everything about everyday was such a struggle. Definitely not a favorite book for me. I loved The Red Tent.

  • Feather Stolzenbach
    2019-01-23 01:58

    I thought this book was really a great read. Completely different from Red Tent - but in a wonderful way. It may be a bit slow for some people but really a unique point of view. rom the PublisherA magnificent storyteller with vast imaginative range, Anita Diamant gave voice to the silent women of the Old Testament in The Red Tent. Now, in her third novel, she brings to vivid life an early New England world that history has forgotten.Set on Cape Ann in the early 1800s, The Last Days of Dogtown is peopled by widows, orphans, spinsters, scoundrels, whores, free Africans, and "witches." Nearly a decade ago, Diamant found an account of an abandoned rural backwater near the Massachusetts coastline at the turn of the nineteenth century. That pamphlet inspired a stunning novel about a small group of eccentrics and misfits, struggling in a harsh, isolated landscape only fifty miles north of Boston, yet a world away.Among the inhabitants of Dogtown are Black Ruth, an African woman who dresses as a man and works as a stone mason; Mrs. Stanley, an imperious madam whose grandson, Sammy, comes of age in her rural brothel; Oliver Younger, who survives a miserable childhood at the hands of a very strange aunt; and Cornelius Finson, a freed slave whose race denies him everything. At the center of it all is Judy Rhines, a fiercely independent soul, deeply lonely, who nonetheless builds a life for herself and inspires those around her to become more generous and tolerant themselves.This is a story of hardship and resilience — and an extraordinary re-creation of an untold chapter of early American life. With a keen ear for language and profound compassion for her characters, Diamant has written her most moving and powerful novel.

  • Laura
    2019-01-27 02:03

    Anita Diamant is a fantastic storyteller! In this novel, she tells the story of Dogtown, a small village on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, that died out in the early 1800s. Diamant knows how to weave many stories together naturally and seamlessly without getting stuck in any one particular story. Her characters are real and loveable (or hateable).... either way, they are fully drawn. There is Judy Rhines who falls in love with a freed African man, there is Tammy Younger who might possibly be the meanest old hag eve written (early in the novel, someone describes her: "Her face was as ugly as a flounder.... uglier!"), Easter Carter whom anyone would want as a neighbor or aunt or grandmother, Ruth who dresses as a man and never speaks, Oliver and his love affairs, Molly and Sally the prostitutes with oral strength (if you catch my drift), Sammy whose morals are quite suspect, and so on and so on. I highly recommend this book for an easy but engrossing read.Also, because of the well-told story, and Kate Nelligan's fantastic voices (she has the tonality of smarminess perfect), this was the best audiobook that I have listened to so far this year.

  • Roxanne
    2019-02-07 05:40

    The Last Days of Dogtown is a novel loosely based on dimming memories of old tales told by the residents of the descendants of Cape Ann, Massachusetts. ('phew!') The introduction of most all of the characters comes immediately as you are invited into the living room of Easter Carter on a frigid winter night. The Dogtown locals have come to pay their final respects to Abraham Wharf, the self proclaimed town leader who had apparently committed suicide.I took me a chapter or two to understand the who, what and where of what was going on, so I went back and re-read from the beginning. After that, I had a hard time putting it down. You get to know each character intimately and their intertwining stories draw you into their lives and keep you there. Dogtown is located in an area of Gloucester (pronounced Glosster, or as a New Englander would say... 'Glossta') on Cape Ann, Massachusetts. I live in Southeastern Massachusetts, so the description of the sights, sounds and smells of the rocky ocean town are familiar and add to the reality. It's an easy read worthy of a cold New England weekend, curled up with a cup of cocoa or a warm sunny day, stretched out under a tree.

  • Carolyn
    2019-02-06 22:48

    I picked this book off the library shelf just because it was written by Anita Diamant, author of 'The Red Tent', with which I was mightily impressed. What a find this one turns out to be! Takes place in early 1800's, on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, 30 miles north of Boston - a part of the US I know almost nothing about.Gloucester was the first settlement (founded 1623) in what became the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Became a shipbuilding center and fishing port. In modern times, the movie 'Perfect Storm' was filmed in Gloucester Harbor. Inland from Gloucester, a sort of backwater village grew: Dogtown; named so for the wild dogs who resided there, perhaps as numerous as human inhabitants at one time. The characters are a well developed motley crew - so-called 'witches' (herbal healers) and whores and bigots, freed Africans and independent women. I suppose if this novel took place in the South, we would say, oh, another 'white trash' novel, and pass it up.But don't. This is so interesting because it takes place in the Northeast. And there is plenty of heart in this story, despite the meanness of some of the characters and the material poverty they endure.

  • Londa
    2019-01-18 03:56

    I really enjoyed this story about the last inhabitants of an early 1800's town in New England that is losing residents at at fast pace. Diamant appropriately introduces them all at the wake of one of the residents. There is a mystery associated with his death, but it is not the dominant theme of the book. The book is really character driven. There are orphans, prostitutes, free blacks, and drunkards and Diamant brings them all to life. She did it in such a way that I find myself still thinking about them long after I have moved onto other books. The people of Dogtown felt 100% real. I was going back and forth between a 4 and a 5 for this book. Usually all books I rate a 5 I would read again, and stay on my mind. I did not anticipate the staying power of this novel, but these characters were written so richly I can't help but think of them. It felt very Dickensian... especially the story of Oliver and Tammy. Yeah, might just have to bump this up. Highly recommend!

  • Michelle
    2019-01-20 06:04

    One reviewer on the back cover of the book called it "A quiet tribute to the power of love" and I think this description is most apt. The entire novel has a quiet feel, as if the reader dropped by the village one day and listened in. In fact, a lot of the characters in the novel do their fair share of quietly observing others. It's a bit much to take in at first, but by the end of the first half of the novel you are almost heartbroken for these people. I found myself rooting for Judy, Easter, Cornelius, Polly and Oliver, and even Sammy with abandon. These are the type of people you hope exist, or at the very least, existed. It is a sad novel, but a sweet and sophisticated-disguised-as-simple character study on love in many forms.

  • Patricia
    2019-01-29 04:46

    This book was disappointing -- not because of the depressing characters that others mentioned, but because of the lack of detail about the time period. I did not feel transported, as I had hoped. The characters could have been in any time or place but seemed stuck in Dogtown only because it was a sparsely populated town that kept the stories neat without outside complications. I've been to the site of Dogtown and hoped for more magic, I guess. Some bright spots were the relationships between the characters and their dogs. I could relate to the comfort of sleeping with a curled-up dog tucked behind my knees. A quick read, but more like a romance novel than historical fiction.

  • Anne Brooke
    2019-02-01 03:52

    An okay read, and with enough interest to keep you going in the rather flabby middle. Still the character of Judy Rhines just about held it together, though she's not on the page as often as I would like.Every now and again, the writing is strangely rather amateur, with different points of view introduced apparently at a whim, which meant I had to go back and reread to see who was talking now - rather irritating really.However, the ending was very good, even though I took a while to get there - but it's still not the tour de force of The Red Tent. Then again, perhaps nothing ever will be ...

  • Bookmarks Magazine
    2019-01-23 02:00

    In The Last Days of Dogtown, Diamant paints a vivid and gripping historical setting as she delves into a lost crevice of human drama in 19th-century Massachusetts and renders it with a modern slickness. There are no novel revelations about love, however. Instead, she takes us alongside the drunkards, whores, and witches (the strongest character is Black Ruth, who rarely speaks), and, in the end, she evokes the tragic silliness of humanity in the grays and pale sunshine of Cape Ann.This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.