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.
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