Book Review: The Last American Man

The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert

Gail selected this title as this month's book discussion (I will be at ALA in DC, and thus unable to lead the discussion), and I wanted to read it, particularly after so enjoying Eat, Pray, Love by the same author.

This is an odd non-fiction book, chronicling the upbringing and life of Eustace Conway, who chose at a young age to strike out and live entirely off the land, and then wanted to spread the word to others, thus carving out a place of his own, avoiding his abusive father, and helping other Americans live off the land.

This is a bit of a "car wreck" book...you watch the descent of Eustace from tolerant and amiable to a man so much like his father in terms of emotional abuse. I really enjoyed reading about the "nature" bits more than the "emotional" bits - I guess I wanted more Bear Grylls and less Sigmund Freud.

Still, this was a fascinating bit of creative non-fiction, and I read it quickly. Of course, just as Eustace wants, I have a teeny, tiny desire to strike out and spend a few nights under the stars (but with a flush toilet nearby, which kind of defeats the object). ;-)


Anonymous said...

Have you read "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer? It is also a non-fiction tale of one young man's wish to get away from civilization & Krakauer is always a plus.

ALSO: A friend's brother is currently in NEPAL with that Bear guy doing a story on Mt. Everest. I have photos of my friend's brother with Bear and as soon as I saw them I thought of you.

Enjoy your summer, Pat

Marissa said...

Hi Pat!

I have read "Into the Wild", as well as "Into Thin Air", which I thought was fantastic, and "Under the Banner of Heaven", which was really interesting. I like Krakauer's stuff!

Awww....I heart my Bear. I'm jealous! ;-)

Hope summer is treating you well, and take care! :-)