I can’t be the only one who’s thought about just disappearing into the woods before, right? We think about what it would be like to disconnect from a fast-paced world and for me, at least, know that we’d never be able to do it. Me becoming a hermit in the woods would be a fast track to me being dead in the woods. But in The Stranger in the Woods, we learn the story of Michael Knight. A man who not only managed to survive, but thrive living in the woods for over 25 years.
Slowly, through this book we’re able to peel away the layers of what makes Knight who he is even as we grapple with what he did. Silence is a punishment for most. Solitary confinement is considered one of the greatest punishments for prison inmates. We’re social creatures, but Michael Knight was able to make it through with his sanity intact.
So what knowledge of the universe does the hermit have to give us? What advice and wisdom does he want us to hear?
None. Michael Knight didn’t do any of this for our sake.
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
by Michael Finkel
[March 7th, 2017]
The Pitch: 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.
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.
3.88 out of 5 on Goodreads
Michael Knight, despite his wishes, is a fascinating person. If he knew that there were all these blog posts about him, he’d probably hate it. The spotlight is the exact opposite of what he wants, but we can’t help be drawn to him. He’s a criminal and an aberration of humanity.
Imagine being able to live a completely solitary lifestyle for almost three decades? Most of us aren’t geared toward that which is what makes Knight so fascinating.
I wish the book was shorter and focused less on the asides and the narrator. Michael Knight is the star and he’s the one who deserves the attention. I found myself getting frustrated whenever the focus got pulled away from Knight.
Who Should Read The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit?
People who love Nature, True Crime without needing murder involved, and the memoirs of unusual people.
If you’re looking for a thrill, then The Stranger in the Woods is not the book for you. If you’re looking for deep, detailed survival information, then this isn’t the book for you either. But if you like unusual stories that are well-written?
Give it a try. Or even better, try the audio book.
I don’t listen to audiobooks often and wouldn’t have done so if it wasn’t a challenge for a readathon. But! Mark Bramhall did an excellent job and I thoroughly enjoyed his reading.
3.5 out of 5 from TrulyBooked
Do you have any suggestions or are there things you think I’ve missed? Leave a comment below. Or if you want more posts like this? Sign up today and never miss a post!