Review: The Longest Way Home

The Longest Way Honme

The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down
By Andrew McCarthy (Yes! THAT Andrew McCarthy!)
(Free Press, Hardcover, 9781451667486, September 18, 2012, 288pp.)

The Short of It:

One man’s attempt to figure it all out. Except, this guy was an 80’s heartthrob which makes it all the more interesting.

The Rest of It:

Everyone remembers Andrew McCarthy, right? THE 80’s heartthrob we all got to know from such movies as Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire and one of the silliest, yet most entertaining movies ever…Mannequin.

I’ve always like his work. He has an easy way about him and a likable face. What I didn’t know, is that in addition to acting and directing, he’s also added travel writer to his list of accomplishments. As an editor-at-large for National Geographic Traveler, You’d think I would have noticed his writing since I’ve read the magazine for years, but maybe I just didn’t realize it was the same guy. Needless to say, when this book came up for review, I jumped at the chance to read it.

McCarthy’s inability to commit to his long time partner, known as “D” in the book is what sends him into a tailspin. The wedding date has been set, but the details as far as when & where cause him anxiety that can only be controlled by hitting the road. So, that is what he does. He climbs Kilimanjaro, spends some time in Costa Rica, Patagonia and Spain and all the while, D is waiting at home, touching base with him when she can.

As much as I adore McCarthy, I was frustrated with his tendency to flee every time decisions needed to be made. It’s a classic case of cold feet but the book promises a “quest” and to me, that means that at some point, you put the hiking boots away and come back as a complete person. I’m not sure that happened here. He does a lot of soul-searching, but I don’t feel that he understood himself any better at the end of this adventure, than he did at the beginning.

As for the adventure, McCarthy is kind of a loner so there aren’t too many meaningful interactions with the people he encounters. It’s mostly him, and what he was thinking at the time. The armchair traveler in me wanted  more description, more humor and some meaningful moments so when those were few and far between, I’d gaze at the cover and then watch Pretty in Pink.

As a Brat Pack fan, my favorite parts of the book had to do with his movie career and how he came to play such iconic roles. These parts are interspersed throughout the book and then of course he touches on alcoholism and how it nearly got the best of him. Even here though, he only skims the surface.

Overall, I’d have to say that if his intent was to dig deep, he wasn’t successful. He only took things so far, and then just sort of gave in to them. BUT, for some reason, I still enjoyed the book. It was refreshing for a man to discuss his weakness and I appreciated the honesty in his writing.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Edelweiss.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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29 Responses

  1. That’s funny because I was just saying to Jim we needed to have a John Hughes film festival! (which also turns out to be a film festival for Molly R, Andrew M, etc!)

    • I asked for an ARC of Molly’s book too. Haven’t gotten it yet but I hope to soon.I have a Hughes fest every other week it seems like. I love it that my daughter loves the movies too. She adores Sixteen Candles.

  2. Love Mannequin, Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire and Weekend at Bernie’s, which means I had a crush on McCarthy like everyone else did :) I’m not sure I’d read this one though – he sounds rather selfish and I’m not sure I care to read about him leaving D just so he can pretend to find himself. I’m sure the movie parts were interesting, but I’m thinking that this is one to pass on. Oh well.

    • D is incredibly patient with him. I’d be frustrated by his inability to make a decision. I mean, he’s loyal and all and they have a kid together and everything but I didn’t get WHAT his problem was.

  3. Sounds like a book that didn’t meet your expectations, but was still satisfying.

    • That pretty much sums it up. My family has a history of alcoholism and there is so much that has to be done to get yourself to a point where you are okay to be around. I expected him to open up a bit more about his battle with the bottle but he barely skimmed the surface. Sure, it’s not pretty but it would have made me like him more… knowing that he is clean now.

  4. I loved ALL of his movies. And he wasn’t this hunky God, he was the cute guy next door that seemed almost…achievable. So, I guess he’s not! And that is too bad. I hope he doesn’t find himself lonely and alone when he’s 80. D won’t wait forever.

  5. I turned this one down, even though I love McCarthy, because there are just too many great reads in the house right now, and I know I might not be able to commit (HA!). It sounds like there was not much personal growth going on here, and that would frustrate me. I do think the bits about his career would be interesting though.

  6. I think that it’s always easier for people on the outside to look at our lives and examine the patterns. It’s so much easier and more pleasant not to dig into and stare deeply into our own weaknesses – offered as an excuse for his lack of detailed self-examination. :)

    I’ve been more of a Molly Ringwald fan, and while I would recognize his face from the movies, I have to admit I didn’t know his name.

  7. I’m glad to see you enjoyed it. I didn’t think I’d like it because it’s hard for me to have much sympathy for someone who runs away from their problems and can afford to do it in the manner he did. I know I’d didn’t explain that well, but I think you get what I mean.

  8. Does he say much about his Brat Pack peers? Like Molly Ringwald and the like? I’d like to hear what he had to say about his Hollywood experience and those John Hughes roles … he played a good weepy male

    • Nah…he doesn’t talk much about any one person. BUT, you have to read You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried! It’s allll about the making of the movies with casting stuff and juicy bits about the other brat packers. LOVED it.

  9. I just did not like him in Pretty in Pink. I mean come on, Duckie had all of the personality and the cool hair and shoes to boot!!! I’m going to pass on reading this one because I feel that I read exactly what this was about from you. However, I do want to read Molly’s book and her newest foray into fiction!!

    • I thought Duckie was robbed at the end of Pretty in Pink. ROBBED I say! BUT, that pretty boy thing with McCarthy hit me hard when he was on Lipstick Jungle with Brooke Shields. It was a short lived TV show but was fabulous.

  10. It sounds like he didn’t really discover anything … and I bet he didn’t commit to D either. I never really liked him in those movies. He always seemed kind of bland to me.

  11. Sounds like he’s tried to cash in on his life experience without the tools to really do a good job. I was hoping for more of a male EAT, PRAY, LOVE.

  12. I thought he was hilarious in Weekend at Bernie’s and yes, even the so-bad-it’s-good Mannequin. I’m not certain I could read a book written by him though because all I would be thinking of is his movie roles. It doesn’t sound like I would miss all that much if I decide to skip it.

  13. Of course I remember Andrew M., he was with James Spader in a lot of movies. From your review, I sense that he may not have arrived home yet. Thanks for sharing this interesting book, Ti.

  14. Have you watched/listened to this interview? I’m listening now, very good so far.

    http://events.nationalgeographic.com/events/video-gallery/116/

  15. This doesn’t sound like my kind of memoir. But I am interested in the other You Couldn’t Ignore Me book you mention.

  16. Ooo Mannequin!! I love that movie. I always liked his character and his acting. Even the book trailer for this looks good. But yeah, I would have the same problem about him just running away from his issues and there’s no real resolution. Also, if I was the girlfriend/fiance I’d be peeved that he wasn’t taking me on all these great adventures. I’d want to go too!

  17. […] Dustin Thomason 50. Divergent by Veronica Roth 51. The Dog Stars by Peter Heller 52. The Longest Way Home by Andrew McCarthy 53. Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio 54. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis […]

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