At the center of McPhee's book is the undying commitment to people's stories and their unique points of views. By introducing the problem of the public's perception of Pines peoples, this text invites the reader to re-consider what life might be like in the New Jersey wilderness, but also in general. For instance, many people don't have jobs, but rather they hunt and grow gardens to survive. Many don't even have telephones.
This stands in stark contrast to the glitz of modern life. The Pines are defined by harmony with nature and by the unique culture and history of the Pines community. Their stories are meaningful and riveting, and their remembrance of important events is nothing short of amazing. They still memorialize the death of a Mexican pilot from the 1920's.
That's what the book is really "about": it's about the undeniable charm of an unusual, seemingly anachronistic community who has persisted in the background of New England's history for centuries now. More broadly, the book is about the beauty of human life and the charm of small local cultures.