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The Last Days of Dogtown
 
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Anita Diamant
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The Last Days of Dogtown

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3.39  ·  Rating Details ·  9,527 Ratings  ·  1,236 Reviews
The setting: early-19th-century Massachusetts. A motley array of stragglers are eking out a bare survival in a decrepit hamlet nicknamed Dogtown because of its scavenger packs of wild canines. These stubborn, weary castoffs live on society's edge -- as widows, witches, spinsters, whores, and freed slaves, they have no other choice. None of them know that Judy Rhines, the m ...more
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Published December 1st 2005 by Recorded Books (first published 2005)
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Kristen
Jan 17, 2008 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 s
...more
Jodi
Aug 30, 2008 Jodi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ?????
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 ...more
Stephanie
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).
...more
Jennifer
Jun 21, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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 ...more
Heidi
Nov 11, 2008 Heidi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mr-paperback
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
Sep 09, 2010 Arlene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Kendra
Jul 26, 2008 Kendra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Janice
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
...more
Sarah
Dec 10, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Rhonda
Feb 25, 2010 Rhonda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Linda
Nov 15, 2008 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 02, 2016 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pre-2007
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
Mar 21, 2015 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pleasure-reading
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
...more
Faith Justice
Sep 08, 2010 Faith Justice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: given-away
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, flashin ...more
Karen S.
Jul 30, 2012 Karen S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Lisa
Aug 18, 2007 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
ummm....eh. 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- mor ...more
Callie
May 02, 2011 Callie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Lynn
Mar 23, 2015 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written historical fiction about forgotten outcasts. Very moving conclusion. Dogtown is no more.
Julie Barichello
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
...more
Christie
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
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 Publisher
A 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
...more
Laura
Nov 22, 2009 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 meane ...more
Roxanne
Oct 27, 2008 Roxanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Roxanne by: One of several books mentioned in a One Book Adventure club meet
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 w
...more
Carolyn
Jun 24, 2010 Carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Stor
...more
Londa
Jan 30, 2013 Londa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 a ...more
Michelle
Dec 12, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, Co ...more
Patricia
Feb 03, 2009 Patricia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Anne Brooke
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 -
...more
Bookmarks Magazine

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 exc

...more
Kwoomac
Jul 22, 2010 Kwoomac rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I was excited to read this as I loved The Red Tent. Also, the book takes place in cape Ann in the 1800's. It was okay but the writing was not notable. Personally, i don't really enjoy books that span a person's entire life. I like to be able to imagine what happens after the story ends. Here, Diamant takes us through the last days of Dogtown, a small poor community in cape Ann. She then goes on to tell where each of the characters ends up and how and when they died. I didn't really like any of t ...more
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Anita Diamant is the author of twelve books -- the newest being THE BOSTON GIRL.

Addie Baum is THE BOSTON GIRL, born in 1900 to immigrant parents who were unprepared for America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie’s intelligence and curiosity take her to the wider world of the 1910s and ‘20s: short skirts, celebrity
...more
More about Anita Diamant...

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“One night, alone in her Dogtown bed, Judy finally admitted to herself that she had been in love with Cornelius. "In love" precisely as it was described in the novels and poems she had read with Martha; love as a kind of sweet madness that colored everything. Judy had been shocked that strangers across the ocean could describe the workings of her Yankee heart: the preoccupation and yearning, the soaring happiness and keen appreciation of a man's hidden qualities, the sublime meeting of souls. And yet, there was never a mention of the sort of union she'd shared with Cornelius, the longing and fulfillment of the flesh, that could transform two bodies into one.” 2 likes
“you got a sad story, ruth,' mimba said. 'but not sad-sad. you here with me and cato and all us together now. you have a happy-sad story. best you can get in this life is happy-sad. but you always gotta remember your own mama that birthed you. even though you only got a crumb of her story, you still got to say her name out loud. you always honor your dead, else you get trouble from them, sure.” 1 likes
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