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The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant
The Last Days of Dogtown, Anita Diamant (The Red Tent) re-creates a town which supposedly existed on Cape Ann in the early 1800s. Dogtown, named for the pack of dogs that roamed the streets, was a hardscrabble town populated with drunkards, prostitutes, orphans, spinsters, and freed slaves, all who struggle with pasts that have crippled them in some way. Those who can have left, and those who remained watch their numbers dwindle as they attend the constant funerals in the town. These include Black Ruth, an African woman who dresses as a man and rarely speaks, Judy Rhine, a sad woman cast out by her father when she was eight, Cornelius Finson, a freed slave whom Judy once loved, and Oliver Younger, one of the few remaining children in Dogtown. Anita Diamant brings to life the denizens, and dogs, on the down and out side of life. The Last Days of Dogtown has received mostly positive reviews with the Miami Herald saying, "As with The Red Tent, Diamant captures with imagination and credibility the people of a unique place and time. In casting her own spell over the Dogtowners, Diamant offers her readers the opportunity to appreciate the humanity that transcends both."