Abby'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
Nov 20, 2008

it was ok
Read in December, 2008

That the subject matter of this book was interesting outside of anything the author said was the only thing that saved it I think. She did a pretty poor job of enlightening the aboveground world to the plight of the underground homeless in new york city. Mostly she strung together superficial sketches of characters in these supposedly vast and complex communities. She seemed to be shooting for ethnography but ended up sounding more like a 12-year old girl keeping a diary: "Today I went into the tunnels with Blade so he could show me where he kills people for crack. Whooo it was dark and was I sure scared!" Also, she spent the whole foreword couching her decision to call the book "the Mole People" because it has so many negative connotations and the underground homeless find it dehumanizing and sesationalized. Then she goes on to dehumanize them and sensationalize them through the whole book so that they really do seem like creatures that crawl in the filth under the ground. Interesting though.
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Margot That's exactly my problem with the book, and why I'm not sure I'll finish it.

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