The Last American Man

The other day, I was jonesing for a book to read and broke one of my New Years resolutions from several years ago. I went to Borders to get a book rather than getting it from the library. When I first walked in, I saw a book by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Last American Man and bought it just because it was written by one of my favorite authors, the writer of Eat, Pray, Love. It turned out to be a very good character study of a first born son of a very harsh father with a mother who didn’t intervene, and who dealt with his lot in life by trying to escape modern day civilization.

It was a strange coincidence that I picked this particular book since I had just finished reading a book by David Guterson (Snow falling on Cedars) called, the Other, about this exact same topic. The difference being, in Guterson’s book ( which I did get from the library) the mother was the harsh and crazy parent and the father didn’t intervene. In both cases, the sons became wilderness fanatics. In the Last American Man, the son also, became his father.

I really enjoyed reading about Eustice Conway’s life and adventures in the wild, despite his inability to form relationships that were in any way collaborative or intimate but I also discovered a bit more about Elizabeth Gilbert. SHe has lead a damn interesting life and I have definitely added her up there, on my list of famous people I would like to meet for dinner.