Welcome All Book Lovers

Welcome All Book Lovers

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Stranger In The Woods by Michael Finkel

Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality—not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.

In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life—why did he leave? what did he learn?—as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.@goodreads 

Wow! This book . . . I couldn't even put it down!

This is the story about Christopher Thomas Knight who at 20 years old, walked into the woods and ever came out until he was caught at 47 years old. He lived in the Maine woods for all of those years in bad weather and in good weather. The only thing he did wrong was burgle cabins and Pine Tree which was a place for people with disabilities. He took any kind of food to survive, watches, books, propane tanks, etc. And when he was caught he confessed right away about these things and said he was sorry for it. He had 1000 burglaries over the course of his life. All he wanted was to live alone in the woods and survive. He never hurt anyone and he never damaged anything.

The author, Michael Finkel met Christopher while he was in jail. He wouldn't talk very much. When he did open up I found that so many things he said opened my eyes even more to the world we live in and how being quiet in nature is more important than even writing this review. Too many things take over our lives and I would like to start simplifying more things then I already do. (which is going to take about 6 years!)

Christopher didn't ever get a cold or any major issues accept for his teeth from a lot of the sugar he ate because when you live like that and you take what you can get. He was wearing the same glasses he was wearing at age 20, he was losing his sight but they fixed him up with some new glasses when he got caught.

Chris knew the woods, his hearing became fine tuned to every little sound, even the minute ones. He never left any tracks. When he left his camp, he stepped in the same places that he had stepped in for years. The police were amazed about that while watching him when they followed him back to his camp.

I'm just amazed at this book. I wish he didn't have to do all of the burglaries but I think he should have been left alone and there are a lot of people that feel the same.

If I had a cabin in that area I would have left him out some food, mostly right before winter. A big lot that he could have over the course of the winter to survive so he wouldn't have to go and get so much stuff to make sure he stayed alive. He wasn't a free loader just because he stole food to survive in the woods. Seriously, I know some free loaders that just don't want to work and live off someone else. My cousin, she has one of those. I think if he could have had the nice part of the community to leave him some food and let him be alone in the woods that would have been a nice thing. He just wanted to be in the woods. He didn't want to sit in his house and watch tv or drink or do drugs, things free loaders do. He just wanted to sit with nature, listen to the odd pbs broadcast on his radio and read books. I didn't think it was right to bring him back, make him live with his family and work with his brother. The quiet was gone and he wanted to kill himself. I don't know what ever happened with that or how he is doing now. I really hope he finds a way to get back to his nature in some way. I thought while reading the book that maybe he could go out and live in the woods close to his family where he would have some quiet and his nature. I don't know. But he was always good and did what the police said and did his community service without any trouble. He never caused any trouble or denied anything when he was caught.

Once again this book was so very good. I'm going to have to get my own copy since this was a library book. It was my own type of feel good book with some of the little things Chris said.

I'm going to leave a few pictures below that came from the author's website taken from him and the Maine Police. There are more but you can go look yourself.

And I will leave an excerpt or two.

Another decade elapsed. The break-ins at Pine Tree increased with both frequency and quantity of goods stolen. By this point, a quarter century in, the whole thing was absurd. There was the Loch Ness Monster, the Himalayan yeti, and the North Pond hermit.

It's possible that Knight believed he was one of the few sane people left. He was confounded by the idea that passing the prime of your life in a cubicle, spending hours a day at a computer, in exchange for money, was considered acceptable, but relaxing in a tent in the woods was disturbed. Observing the trees was indolent; cutting them down was enterprising. What did Knight do for a living? He lived for a living.

His mushroom friend that he watched grow from a baby. He was worried the police might have accidentally killed it, but the author went out and it was still there =]

Little North Pond above.

The woods he traveled.

I hope others get a chance to read this book this wonderful book!




  1. I have this book sitting on my TBR shelf right now. It sounds like a fascinating story. Great review!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. I hope you get to read it soon and love it =)

  2. I'm so glad you had a better experience with this book than I did! I'm a born and raised Mainer, and the author really rubbed me the wrong way.

    1. I'm sorry you had a bad experience with it, but I'm glad I loved it. =) There were some things about the author, I can't put my finger on it.

  3. This sounds pretty interesting. I'm reminded of Into the Wild.

    1. It's really good. I have only seen the movie, Into the Wild and he made me mad at the end by not listening to what the guy said when he dropped him off. What can you do though?