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Book Review

Book Reviews


By Michael Finkel Knopf
March 7, 2017
224 Pages

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

In 1986, 26-year-old Christopher Knight walked away from his job, his car, his family and his life and set up a camp in the Maine woods where, other than two very brief accidental run-ins with hikers, he spoke to no one until he was captured breaking into a summer camp kitchen in 2013.

Incredibly clever and inventive, Knight survived by breaking into nearby vacation cottages to steal everything from food to radios and even a small television which he powered with stolen tanks of propane. While living only about a mile from the nearest cabin, the depth of the woods and Knight’s ability to camouflage his campsite allowed him to elude arrest for decades.

Author Michael Finkel explores Knight’s personality, family and upbringing in an attempt to explain what drove him to seek complete solitude. He examines the varying reactions of the cottage owners. Some felt terrorized and
violated by Knight’s random break-ins; others considered him a harmless inconvenience and advocated minimal
penalty when he was finally apprehended. ♦

— Review by Sally Wisdom

Prep Iowa

By Jeannie Vanasco
270 pages
Tin House
Oct. 3, 2017

‘The Glass Eye’

“The Glass Eye” is a beautifully written memoir about love, loss, grief and mental illness. Jeannie Vanasco was very close to her father, and he died while she was in college. Jeannie starts having mental issues after her father’s death, which she details with astounding clarity. Before he died, Jeannie promised him she would write a book
about him. This is that book. In the process of writing this book, Jeannie learns about her father’s life before she was born. Her father had been married previously and had another daughter named Jeannie, who died in a car accident when in high school. He was blamed for her death, and it wrecked him. While learning about her father,
Jeannie becomes obsessed with her half-sister and namesake. This book is about trying to understand the lives of loved ones before you came to be. “The Glass Eye” is a book I won’t soon forget. ♦

— Review by Hunter Gillum

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