If someone chooses to live their life different from ours, does that make them wrong?
That’s what I kept wondering after reading My Abandonment by Peter Rock.
The story is about a 13-year-old girl, Caroline, and her father who lived in Forest Park, a nature preserve in Portland, Ore.
While it is apparent that the man’s mental illness is the reason they are homeless in the woods, it also seems that he does a good job of raising his daughter there. They have a cave for shelter, a creek for water and cleanliness, food from a garden, and even a few books used to educate the girl.
There don’t appear to be any signs in the book that the man abused his daughter or that either were unhappy with the way they lived. However, each time they were found, they were forced into a more “normal” life that didn’t suit them (especially the father) and resulted in them repeatedly returning to live in the woods.
I’m not sure how I read this entire book without realizing it was based on a true story. When I found out, I became even more bothered by the assumptions we make about how other people should live. If you decide to read it, I would love to know your thoughts.
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