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ARC Review: The Divorce Colony

The Divorce Colony: How Women Revolutionized Marriage and Found Freedom on the American Frontier by April White April White’s The Divorce Colony is set during the Gilded Age, in the America of the late 1800s. It revolves around the lax divorce rules then to be found in South Dakota.  Today, getting divorced is almost easier than getting married. But in the Gilded Age, divorces were not so easy to obtain. Divorce was viewed as a moral concern for the state, and was denounced from the pulpit for threatening the sanctity of marriage. Even President Theodore Roosevelt spoke out against it.  Laws around divorce tended to be most lax on the frontiers of the United States. By the 1880s the territory of Dakota gained the dubious honor of posting the largest rise in divorces in the country. At the turn of the century one city - Sioux Falls, South Dakota - gained a reputation for having the laxest divorce laws of all, and required only a three month residency in order to take advantage of them

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.

The Stranger in the Woods links

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