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Lost In America: A Dead-End Journey (2011)

by Colby Buzzell(Favorite Author)
3.7 of 5 Votes: 3
0061841358 (ISBN13: 9780061841354)
review 1: Colby Buzzell is the author of MY WAR: KILLING TIME IN IRAQ, which I haven't read yet but want to. LOST IN AMERICA stems from a publisher asking him to go on a road trip, retrace Kerouac's footsteps, and paint a contemporary portrait of the country. He is basically advised to "write a love letter to Kerouac." Even though ON THE ROAD once held a really important place in his heart, his response is, "I don't write love letters. Fuck that, and fuck Kerouac." Those two lines are what made me decide to buy this, but I think my biggest mistake was opting to get the used uncorrected proof of this novel (technically not supposed to be for sale) instead of the final hardcover version. What I got was a fairly well-written but pretty random and unfocused account of a dude traveling a... morecross the country, working odd jobs, drinking a lot, and feeling insecure about himself and his place in the world. Regardless, I liked Buzzell a lot. His mother dies, his wife gives birth, and he leaves on this trip (which was planned before the other events took place). He drifts from town to town and talks to anyone, befriends all sorts of people, and visits all the areas he's advised not to visit (especially true in Detroit). He thinks he's a misfit, but he's hilarious and smart and brave. This book is worth reading for sure, just don't be cheap like me. Get the final copy.
review 2: I was drawn in by this author's open and real conversation with himself. Despite the use of the "f" word rather much at the beginning, I continued to read and could feel an authentic person talking from the heart. His heart and experiences seemed much different than mine but strangely familiar. His choices in life of places and daily activities were alien to me but the openness of his dialog was at once revealing, cogent, and truthful and at the same time, strangely heartwarming. As the author progresses toward the end of his physical journey across the country and as his attitudes change, one wonders if he will ever see the despair he chooses in his daily activities and the big world outside his narrow view of the world and his dead-end choices of drug filled non-existence. The fact that his mother's demise was such an overriding influence in his writing was like the thread that kept pulling both him and the reader along. His testament to the deterioration of Detroit is chilling and frightening really. As he comes to sense the eternal hope brought forth through a new life, one also begins to have hope for the future of this country. Well done, and a remarkable treatise on the value of life and hope and continual trying. less
Reviews (see all)
"Mrs. Obama took a sh%t on this toilet?" ... you kill me.
A very dark portrait of america. factotum on the road.
I need to call my mother and tell her I love her.
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