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The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert


Cover of "The Last American Man"

Cover of The Last American Man


So I guess you could say that I’m a hesitant fan of Elizabeth Gilbert. I read and enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love and Committed and (to a lesser extent) Stern Men, and I adore her TEDTalk, but there’s always been something I’ve found to be…slightly narcissistic and off-putting about her. But I just read her book The Last American Man and it is WONDERFUL. TLAM is a study of modern-day wilderness man Eustace Conway, who left home at seventeen to pursue an authentic life, living solely off the land. In what could have been an overly romanticized portrait of a rapidly dying breed, Gilbert manages to convey all of the complexity and contradictions of Conway – a man both fanatical and charismatic, perfectionistic and deeply flawed. It is a testament to Gilbert’s skills as a writer that Conway is so precisely drawn in his particular eccentricities and manias – even at his most idealistic, he is unmistakably human.




About diaryofateenagereader

Hello! I’m a high schooler from the beautiful Pacific Northwest and I love love love to read, write, draw, etc. But especially to read. This blog helps me keep track of all the things I’m reading, and share them with others too!

5 responses »

  1. I’ve not read any of Elizabeth Gilbert, but after watching her TEDtalk, I was wholly intrigued. Thanks for the link! I shall have to delve into her work and see for myself…!

  2. Hey, thanks for the link back. I haven’t read her yet, but I too loved her TED talk. At the same time I was a bit reticent about it. I wonder if the answer couldn’t work with a more scientific slant, but then I wonder if I want a full answer at all. I like that she cautions the artists against the dangers of arrogance when it comes to the question of genius. As for the privileged narcissistic thing. Yeah, I have that same nagging feeling, much as I want to read her.

    • No problem! I completely agree with what you’re saying about her TED talk. I think the idea of thinking of a “genius” as a separate entity would save artists both from arrogance, as you said, and also from feeling burdened and overwhelmed by the pressure to produce something magnificent.

  3. Pingback: Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity « Writing Tips

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