Izze's Reviews > Desert Solitaire

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
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Apr 06, 12

bookshelves: irp-bookshelf
Read in April, 2012

In the book Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey, He writes about his experience and knowledge learned while working in the Arches National Park as a park ranger. He describes the desert, its features and plants: “When I write "paradise" I mean not only apple trees and golden women but also scorpions and tarantulas and flies, rattlesnakes and Gila monsters, sandstorms, volcanoes and earthquakes, bacteria and bear, cactus, yucca, bladder-weed, ocotillo and mesquite, flash floods and quicksand, and yes — disease and death and the rotting of flesh.” (Abbey, 147)., and how one feels while in it. “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.” (Abbey, 148). He also tells a few tales that have to do with things relating to what he’s talking about, one being about the time when average people trying to become rich, bought pieces of land, trying to find oil. He tells a story of a father and his family, trying to make a new, more profitable life out of land they bought. Towards the end of the book, Abbey starts writing about all of his journeys that he took, like through the Glen Canyon “My friend Newcomb, for instance. He has only one good leg, had an accident with the other, can’t hike very well in rough country, tends to lag behind. We were exploring a deep dungeon-like defile off Glen Canyon” (Abbey, 120), the time when he was in a flash flood   “A wall of water. A poor image. For the flash flood of the desert poorly resembles water. It looks rather like a loose pudding or a thick dense soup, thick as gravy, dense with mud and sand, lathered with scuds of bloody froth, loaded on its crest with a tangle of weeds and shrubs and small trees ripped from their roots.” (Abbey, 120), and another time when he went looking for a wild horse to bring back to it’s owner “Others had attempted the violent method of pursuit and capture and had failed. “I was going to use nothing but sympathy and understanding, in direct violation of common sense and all precedent, to bring Moon-Eye home again.” (Abbey, 142).

This book teaches a lot about the wilderness. It is very informative and can be used as a tool for someone who is planning on staying in this environment. It is also a challenging read and takes a experienced reader to stay involved. Unfortunately it is overly detailed. I did not like this book because the author uses more words then are necessary. Also the plot is not very well organized, the story jumps around and is hard to follow. It is not entertaining or engaging. It is not a book I would pick up and read for pure enjoyment.

I didn’t enjoy this book as a reading piece alone but I have to give it some stars because it was extremely information. Also there were a few interesting stories spun in. Unfortunately the author didn’t strive to tie these stories in well with the rest of the book and it seemed like a jumbled mess. If the author had leaned towards only an informational book it would be much more useful and practical book, or if they had focused more on the entertainment factor it would have been better. But they tried to hard to cover both of these and in the end just messed up the story. Overall I would give this book two stars.
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Ruby he was trying to explain the world and the stories of the world


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