The Stranger in the Woods

I was stunned by how quickly I blew through this one. Chosen as one of the reads for our two person book club between my boyfriend and me, I had deferred to him on this choice round.  However, to my surprise, I loved this book.  It was gripping, eye opening, and thought provoking.

Some people dismiss or critique the story, because of the fact that Christopher Knight, the focus of the expose, stole from civilians.  Food and provisions in order to survive. While on its simplistic surface, this is logical, it is also black and white, highly moralistic thinking.  And it far from covers the whole truth (as super moralistic thinking rarely does).

On reading the book, one learns that Christopher Knight was not a bad person.  Far from it.  Like the majority of human beings, he was complex, and a mixture of the two. And, in my humble opinion, a fascinating and unique one worthy of reading about.

Christopher Knight, in his early twenties, walked into the woods and did not speak to another human soul, nor enter back into civilization for well over 20 years following.  He lived in a tent through brutal winters, developing ingenious methods of food storage, as well as survival.

What is truly mind opening about this book though, is learning of his reasons behind leaving civilization.  His reflections on concepts such as solitude, small talk, and human interaction are incredibly interesting.

To give further depth to these lines of thinking, there are chapters of the book which focus on hermits and others who relish and even build their lives around solitude.  People such as extreme introverts and monks.

The book challenges us on questions such as, what truly makes for a good life?  What might the benefits and drawbacks of solitude be?  What does community actually mean?  Is it merely being around people? Or might it be something deeper?

Check out this book for a unique topic and a compelling read.  It will change the way you think of and look at solitude, shy people, introverts, and society in general.


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