This would make an excellent book for discussion groups; there is a lot to talk about here! I liked parts of it, and I hated parts of it. First, I'm not sure I like Eustace. He is presented as arrogant, intolerant, and condescending. Then again, I don't have to like the subject of a biography. His message is not without merit, and my heart ached for Eustace the little boy.
Elizabeth Gilbert is not so much a biographer as a publicist! Good grief. Talk about a complete lack of objectivity. I would call this a haggiography. She also inserts herself into this story to an alarmingly distasteful degree. But...her writing flows and is incredibly readable.
Ack. I don't know if I liked this or hated this.
Last complaint: Gilbert is offensively condescending toward the people of Appalachia. Complete stereotypes, each and every time she mentioned someone from the region.
I think that one of the descriptions on the back cover of the book said that this was a clear-eyed view of the man of the title. Clear-eyed is a good description. I wanted to buy into some fantasy of a hard-working, back-to-nature, let's-all-save-the-planet myth. And Eustace provides all of that. But he's also a real--um--I guess "turd" is the first word that comes to mind. He's not always nice to people. The book is really good at presenting both sides of this guy. You feel sorry for him, you want to run away with him, and you want to kick him all at the same time. Elizabeth Gilbert's multi-dimensional portrait of Eustace makes for a much better (though less idealistic) portrait of Eustace.
Great, fascinating book. The ending however is somewhat discouraging.
A very balanced bio of a remarkable man, Eustace Conway. I guess the shortest synopsis of this book could be: You WILL become your parents. Don't even try not to!
Everyone should read this book! It will, hopefully, change your outlook. This is one man who has a vision and seems to know his short-comings and his strengths.
I really liked this book and the message it's trying to send to the world. I ordered this book through PBS after having read and enjoyed Eat,Pray,Love. I like the author's style and I get her humor. Many times I laughed right out loud. Eustace Conway, the title character, is a very interesting person.
***SCENE SPOILER ALERT***
There's a moment in the book where the author is reminiscing with an old college friend of Eustace. The friend is describing the first time he invited Eustace to his apartment. He and his young wife, both 19, just moved in and instantly started buying what they could to create a home to mimic their parents' homes, with furniture, knick knacks, etc. Eustace comes in and comments on how they have a lot of stuff, material possessions. He goes on to wonder what they could have done if they'd spent that money to travel the world or to buy books; imagine what they'd know about the world. The friend was just blown away by this. What an exotic concept; so foreign to him and his young wife, who he admits in the interview, had never thought with any depth about their lives.
I, personally, just loved this scene. My partner and I live this way, very minimally with alternative life plans contrary to the conventions of our society. This book resonated with me. It also showed in other scenes that everyone, no matter how free their life seems, battles with some inner struggles.
I see this book as a modern Greek tragedy. The very attributes that make him so heroic and larger than life are the very things that prevent him from ever having a meaningful human relationship.
This book is probably my favorite book of the year. I have to admit, though, I am an outdoor person and did grow up in the south. Eustace Conway is truly a Renaissance Man, doesn't need the outside world for anything, except maybe the attention and an audience. Very refreshing to read about his philosophy of life, religion, culture, etc. I do recommend this book.
I loved this book. Eustice Conway is an amazing individual. We should all be a bit more like him.. Elizabeth Gilbert does a fantastic job introducing us to this unique individual.
True story of a modern day Daniel Boone.Interesting read.