The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel (Review by Erin Woodward)
1 min read
What I loved most about this book is the way it was told. Michael Finkel was once a journalist for the New York Times. And it shows, the book’s research is exhaustive as he tells the story through a reporter’s prism. He sticks to the facts and although he offers you his own personal feelings about this incredible tale you appreciate them because he’s gone to such lengths to make sure you’re given the entire picture.
So what’s this book about – well some of you may well remember the newspaper headlines back in 2013 when Chris Knight was apprehended after spending over 27 years alone in the woods in Maine. To survive he broke into nearby cottages and houses over 1,000 times taking food, propane, and supplies. Over the course of his 27-year exile from society, he ran into people twice, muttering only a quick greeting. Otherwise, he never spoke or touched another living soul. He was not an aggressive, dangerous or stupid man. He just valued his privacy and felt more comfort in solitude than any other place he knew. He stole to survive and although this doesn’t justify his actions, Finkel managed to get Mr. Knight to open up and explain why he had gone to such extremes to protect his way of life. It’s not relatable at all, at least it wasn’t for me. But in the end, he had very real emotions and reasons for doing what he did and I think Finkel did a good job of honouring those.