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The Longest Way Home: One Man's Quest for the Courage to Settle Down
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The Longest Way Home: One Man's Quest for the Courage to Settle Down

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  1,277 ratings  ·  272 reviews
Award-winning travel writer and actor Andrew McCarthy delivers a revealing and insightful memoir about how travel helped him become the man he wanted to be, helping him overcome life-long fears and confront his resistance to commitment.From time immemorial, travel has been a pursuit of passion—from adventurers of old seeking gold or new lands, to today’s spiritual and plea...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Free Press
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Debbie
I bought this book for two reasons, one very realistic, the other very shallow. I'll start with the shallow: I wanted to marry Andrew McCarthy when I was 15 years old. Okay, I got that part over with. The real reason I bought this book is because I discovered a while back that Andrew McCarthy is a travel writer (and Editor at Large) for National Geographic. As someone who dreams of being a world traveler, discovering all of the beauties of the world and learning all the cultures, being a citizen...more
Dina
I am so very lucky to have won this book from Goodreads's First Reads giveways because it changed and maybe redeemed a whole genre for me. Are you ready for a surprise? I hate memoirs. Better yet, I hate travel writers. Most beautifully, I hate all of this because of the over-romantic view portrayal, rose-tinted view we get of travel. McCarthy is not the strongest writer I have encountered, but he has heart and he has honesty--one that is awfully painful (probably because he is so honest about i...more
Ryan Murdock
When I read a review of The Longest Way Home in Publisher's Weekly, I immediately went online and ordered it.

This is travel literature as it should be written. McCarthy has a fine eye for the details of place. He captures landscape and people — and those revealing gestures or lines of speech that get to the heart of someone —in precise deliberate prose that’s never loaded down with unnecessary words.

But this is far from just a story about exotic places. Like the best travel writing, it’s deeply...more
Julie Bestry
I selected this book after hearing McCarthy interviewed on Studio 360 on NPR and learning about his new career in travel writing. I paid more attention to the travel writing than the subtitle, "One Man's Quest for the Courage to Settle Down." When I started reading, I'd felt I'd made a big mistake.

This book is an awkward confessional, with the sometimes strident whines of an introverted curmudgeon. What right does Andrew McCarthy have to be so misanthropic? He's pretty. He's rich. He's famous. H...more
Jamee Zielke
This book was a chore to read.


Andrew McCarthy comes across as self-focused, which I suppose is unavoidable while writing a memoir of solo travel. But still, he's a boor.


We meet McCarthy, in literary form anyway, on his honeymoon for his 2nd marriage which he uses to set the scene for the many months between the decision to marry his now wife and the wedding itself. We find out early on, in large part because he tells us, that he likes to be alone, has a hard time with commitment and obligation...more
Sara
Like most 80s fans, I've always had a particular soft spot for Andrew McCarthy. He's been fairly absent from the screen in recent years and I was pleasantly surprised to find he'd become something of a travel writer in the interim. Travel writing with a side of self-discovery isn't my favourite kind of writing but I was intrigued by this book. Furthermore one of my colleagues told me that he'd worked with McCarthy on this (in a publicity capacity) and that McCarthy was pretty much exactly as he...more
Marc Weitz
When I mentioned to a friend at tennis, that I was reading Andrew McCarthy’s book I got a long look of “you’re kidding me.” I asked myself the same question when, after seeing a travel article written by Andrew McCarthy in the New York Times, I suddenly bought and downloaded his new book. When I saw the article in the Times and saw that the author was Andrew McCarthy, I was sure it couldn’t be the actor. But, man, this guy can write. His style is clearly patterned after Hemingway’s with short, c...more
Megan
I was surprised to find out Andrew McCarthy was a travel writer. After reading 100 pages of this book I am shocked he is a travel writer. I love reading about people traveling to far away places and seeing amazing things. So while the author travels to cool places the way he writes gave it no life for me and I found myself skipping through the pages hoping to get to something interesting. As for his relationship with D, there was nothing in it to make me root for them. At 100 pages what I know a...more
Robin
It would be easy to dismiss this as a self-indulgent travel memoir by a former "brat-packer" actor became an award winning travel writer, but this was surprisingly well done.

I found the travels interesting and his musings of his fear of commitment to be honest (there is much angst about getting hitched again and being a better husband than he was to his first wife).

I highly recommend this to those who liked Nicholas Sparks's THREE WEEKS WITH MY BROTHER and even EAT, PRAY, LOVE, although I liked...more
Florinda
I like to travel, but wouldn’t say I have a strong sense of adventure--there are many places I have no desire to visit and activities I don’t personally wish to do. But that doesn’t mean I’m not still curious, and for that reason, travel writing appeals to me. Since most of my travels these days involve a forty-mile stretch comprised of the four Los Angeles freeways between my home and workplace, audiobooks are a great way to pretend I’m somewhere else. I recently spent a week in several locales...more
Gatamadrizgmail.com
This splendidly written book by travel writer/actor Andrew McCarthy takes you through a 7 month journey in which the author is trying to figure out what his problem is with truly committing to the woman he has vowed to marry. He has been with D for seven years, they have a daughter and everything should be fine, right? But the minute they decide to get married he is off and running.

Painfully shy and a bit socially inept, he is honest that he uses travel to avoid getting to know people. But trave...more
Anna Janelle
My previous status updates seem to encompass many of the gut-reactions that I've had to this book. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how well Andrew McCarthy can spin a tale. He's a wonderfully gifted writer who possesses the ability to really draw the reader in to reassess and re-evaluate what it means to become an adult member of a committed relationship. While McCarthy was primarily known as an celebrated "Brat Pack" actor in the 1980s, he is now a celebrated travel author, acting as edi...more
Greg Baerg
I didn't know that Andrew McCarthy was a travel writer until a friend read a feature he wrote about an unconventional stay in Paris. She recommended the book to me and I am grateful.

As the title suggests, it is more than a travel book -- indeed, it isn't a travel book, at all. It is a heartwarming story about a man coming to grips with who he has been and who is becoming, and the journey that got him there (and which continues).

At this point of my life, it spoke to me, and I found myself highlig...more
Jeff Grosser
I decided to give this book a try because of the fact that I was a big fan of Andrew McCarthy’s acting in the 1980’s. My favorite role was his portrayal of Kevin Dolnez in St. Elmo’s Fire, because it was someone I could relate to on certain levels in my younger days. After reading the first few chapters of this book, it was evident that Kevin and Andrew were very similar characters. Both preferring solitary isolation while they figured out their role in life’s journey. It’s as if he takes his tr...more
Larry Hoffer
I'm not at all ashamed to admit that I was first drawn to Andrew McCarthy's new book because he starred in two of my favorite 80s movies, St. Elmo's Fire and Pretty in Pink. The truth is, however, about a year or so ago I read an article he wrote on Ireland for Bon Appetit magazine, and I remembered being impressed with his writing ability.

While I may have come to McCarthy's book partially because of my nostalgia for most 80s-related things, it was his writing ability, and his insights into the...more
Elida
Andrew McCarthy has transformed himself from Brat Pack actor to travel writer. His work has received some high honors. I was aware of his work in National Geographic Traveller, so I picked up this book. And I was disappointed. He writes more of his own neurotic journey to adulthood and commitment than he does of actual travel. In this book, he travels to escape his responsibilities and his ennui. And he travels to boring rat-trap towns. I had no desire to visit Patagonia or Costa Rica when he wa...more
Sue Weiss
I'll be honest. I picked up this book when the author's name caught my eye and I wondered if it was the same Andrew McCarthy who was an actor in "St. Elmo's Fire". A closer look at the cover photo confirmed that it was him so I chose it on a whim, not knowing what to expect.

I was surprised by how much I liked the book. At a loss to describe it precisely, but suffice it to say it is a cross between a memoir and a travelogue replete with descriptions of far-off REMOTE places, but intermixed is an...more
Cara
This book is Pretty in Pink star Andrew McCarthy's reflections on his life, specifically the interactions between travel, his desire to marry the woman who would become his wife, and his desire to run away and be alone forever. It's an interesting story, and the writing is good in a spare way. I got it because I thought understanding this guy's resistance to commitment and completely open intimacy might help me understand myself. Do I really never want to get married again because I suck at it,...more
Kevin Fanning
I got about 2/3 through. Probably could have forced myself to finish it but it had to go back to the library.

The book is divided into geographic sections, and he uses the landscape of the trips to compare where he was at geographically with where he was at mentally, w/r/t his relationship with a woman named "D". (It really annoyed me he couldn't just use her full name, or just make up a fake name, I mean who cares. Why the mystery? 10 seconds of googling reveals her name as Dolores.)

So basicall...more
Ti
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...more
Deirdre
Andrew McCarthy is an actor I remember from my teenage years, a man who features on a few of my favourite movies. So when I saw that he had a travel book that was about him dealing with his issues around marriage I was intrigued, when I read it I was charmed.

I do empathise with his feeling of being twitchy in crowds and lonely within groups, I know that feeling all too well myself. In this he explores being in foreign countries, actually working for the National Geographic Traveler, and recounti...more
Kylan
There's something to be admired about a man who just unleashes all his honesty in a vulnerable and cautious way. Not so much a self-help book as oppose to an insight into a man who is trying to understand why his natural longing for separatism is conflicting with his impending marriage to a beautiful woman. Andrew McCarthy is unflinchingly honest about his past, his present and his future. And whilst there is caution in his notes, McCarthy manages to intertwine his travels with his feelings and...more
Heather
This is a pretty self-indulgent and repetitive look at McCarthy's journey to finally marrying the mother of one of his children. While there's a good concept here--him running away in search of something and finding that he has what he needs and wants at home--he never actually digs deep enough to make the reader care. He repeats over and over (and over) how he craves solitude, how he has always felt apart from people, how he is embarrassed by his own and other people's shame. But rather than en...more
Paul
You may remeber Andrew as the aloof actor from "Pretty in Pink" and St. Elmo's Fire" from the 1980's. He's become a director and sucessful travel writer and editor over the years. After a failed marriage and having a son, he meets "D" in Ireland and they begin the 7 year process of committing to a marriage. Before he does, he travels to Patagonia, the Amazon, Central America, and Mt. Kilimanjaro to discover... himself. He writes at the end of the book, "The revelation of my journeying is that so...more
Terric853
I read this because it was my book club's selection. I enjoyed the travel pieces. The "Do I want to marry the woman I've been living with - and have a daughter by?" - parts set my teeth on edge. I wanted to slap some sense into this self-indulgent idiot. What difference does a marriage license make when you have a kid and have been together that long? What will change if you make it legal? Yet, he drags his feet and runs off to Patagonia, the Amazon and other exotic locales while trying to convi...more
Beth Schneider
I'm not a huge fan of memoirs typically, but when it involves travel and fear of commitment, two themes particularly near & dear to me, I'm interested. After listening to McCarthy speak on NPR, I was definitely hooked. I had seen his byline in several Nat'l Geographic articles, but had never put it together with the Andrew McCarthy of '80s movie fame. I'm just going to say that his writing skills completely overtake his acting skills. The way that he wove his personal story in with the lands...more
Melani
nothing trite or overwritten about this quest; loved the subtlety and unpretentious style
Gaby
Who of our generation hasn't heard of Andrew McCarthy? His early movies and Brat Pack reputation marked him as one of the actors that I'd followed in my teens (Pretty in Pink, Taps, St. Elmo's Fire, and Less Than Zero). He'd represented an uncertain, sensitive, slightly lost youth. I read his memoir The Longest Way Home largely because I wanted to know more about the actor in his youth.

Andrew McCarthy's writing is clear, vivid, and well crafted. His book is part travelogue and part memoir as he...more
Katrina Woznicki
Eh, I would not recommend this book unless you have a stomach for repetition and self-indulgence. I enjoyed the travelogue part of the book and equally enjoyed Mr. McCarthy's writing when he was writing about travel; some of his descriptions of Vienna were truly beautiful. But I didn't really care about his incessant push-pull self-examination and constant questioning of solitude. I didn't find his upbringing all that interesting (did every writer come from a dysfunctional suburban household bec...more
Lesley Koke DeWig
This is one of the first books I added to my Kindle. I've always been a fan of Andrew McCarthy's and I was anxious to learn about his career as a travel writer. I got some great insight into not only his film/writing career but also his personal life. I think I see a re-read of this book in my near future. Almost 2 years later! Would like to give it a proper review because it really was a great read!
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“There's something in the act of setting out that renews me, that fills me with a feeling of possibility. On the road, I'm forced to rely on instinct and intuition, on the kindness of strangers, in ways that illuminate who I am, ways that shed light on my motivations, my fears.” 7 likes
“As is often the case when I travel, my vulnerability -- like not knowing what the hell I'm going to do upon arrival -- makes me more open to outside interactions than I might be when I'm at home and think I know best what needs to be done. On the road, serendipity is given space to enter my life.” 6 likes
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