Review: The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
by Michael Finkel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You may recall, back in 2013, hearing on the news about "The Hermit of North Pond", a man who had been apprehended after living alone in the woods of Maine for years, supporting himself by stealing food and other items from summer camps. Over his years in the woods "The Hermit" had broken into  hundreds of camps.

The Stranger in the Woods is Michael Finkel's story about that "hermit", named Chris Knight. Finkel, a journalist, establishes a connection with Knight and visits him several times while he's in jail, at his sentencing, and after, to piece together the story of how, and why, he did what he did. 

This is a rather short book and feels incomplete.  Knight, after a quarter of a century without any meaningful human contact, really prefers his solitude and so doesn't give Finkel a lot to build on. So rather than anything of depth regarding Knight's time in the woods, what you get is Finkel's story of how he reached out to and met Knight, and pieced as much of the story together as he could. Even at that remove it's still an interesting story, if not as profound as the subtitle might lead you to expect.

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