I had to read this for class or else I would have never picked this up in the first place but I have to say I really enjoyed it. If you are a person that grew up in the late 70's and 80's you'll enjoy reading it. He is funny and made me remember why I'm happy that I'm not a teenager again. Quick and fast, you'll not be disappointed by this memoir. It really leaves a good feeling in your heart after reading it. If you like this, I would also recommend The life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. A lot took place before my time, but I still found it very funny.
From an amazon.com reader: 21 of 21 people found the following review helpful:
Hysterically funny look at one boy's search for meaning., April 14, 2001
By LeeAnn Balbirona (Washington state) - See all my reviews
I just happened across Salzman's video of "Iron & Silk" (about his experiences teaching English and learning wushu in China) and I was so charmed, I decided to give "Lost in Place" a try. From page one I was laughing out loud. There is much more here than just a boy's quest to be a wandering Zen monk from the age of 13. He also has a sometime career as a cellist, a summer as a pothead and an everlasting struggle with the public school system. The main theme of this book is that basic question: what's the purpose of my life? Salzman explores this in tandem with touching vignettes of his relationship with his implacable father, an amateur astronomer, painter and disenchanted social worker.
As someone who has recently taken up martial arts, I enjoyed the descriptions of Salzman's early training. How I'm glad I didn't go to his school!
The book is a quick, pleasureable read. Even though Salzman describes some dark times in his life, his self-analysis is too interesting to put down. I wish I could recommend this to the under 18 crowd, but due to vivid descriptions of drug use, a lot of musings about sex and a lot of profanity on the part of his kung fu instructor, I'd hesitate to give this book to any but the most mature of teenagers. Highly recommended for parents trying to renew their familiarity with the teenage mind, though!
If you've ever given idle thought to achieving Zen enlightenment, you might want to read this book instead.
If you grew up in the Jersey suburbs, went to junior high in the '70s, or have ever set foot in a dojo or kwoon anywhere/anytime, you should definitely read this book. You'll find (endearingly or maybe depressingly) familiar ground.
Salzman is really just a great writer, no matter the subject. (I even sprang for a hardcover copy of his book about teaching at a juvenile detention facility . . .)