Heather's Reviews > The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City

The Mole People by Jennifer Toth
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's review
Sep 27, 2010

really liked it
Recommended to Heather by: Kelly Gigante, Hatfield MA

One cold winter in an old Victorian house in small town in Western MA I was romanced by this story of sub culture and counter culture: the coolest of the cool, the ultimate outsiders, the ostracized, the mentally ill, the idealists living underneath the streets in the defunct portions of the NYC subway system. Reading like a cross between a sociology study and a fictional account of the Island of Misfit Toys, this book was just right to intrigue my intellect and my imagination.

Further adding to the intrigue, Jennifer Toth apparently wrote the account as part of her graduate studies work. However, when challenged to prove her claims, she would not betray the locations-- and thereby the safety-- of the people she had observed, and in some cases, befriended. Losing academic credibility, the book was published as a novel.

It's rare the book I find that can romance me with descriptions of unused underground 1800s platforms, rococo embellishments and baby grands, and then turn my stomach and repulse me with a description of a dinner of "tunnel chicken": rat meat, and have a cohesive whole. But it works.

And I've never looked at the subway the same.

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