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

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  2,200 ratings  ·  371 reviews
WITH AN IRREPRESSIBLE TASTE for adventure, candor, and a vivid sense of place, award-winning travel writer and actor Andrew McCarthy takes us on a deeply personal journey played out amid some of the world’s most evocative locales.

Unable to commit to his fiancée of nearly four years—and with no clear understanding of what’s holding him back—Andrew McCarthy finds himself at
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Free Press
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Average rating 3.59  · 
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Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Ryan Murdock
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Julie Bestry
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jamee Zielke
Mar 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
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
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
Marc Weitz
Oct 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
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
Nov 14, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Greg Baerg
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Larry H
Oct 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Will White
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More like 3.5 stars
This book is hard to nail down. There are travel sections that make me want to visit the place the next day. There are deep insightful sections that make me want to write down each word of wisdom to read everyday. There are pages about family that make me want to put the book down and go hug my wife and kids. There are a few sections about McCarthy’s life as a member of the 1980’s Brat Pack. There are sections that bored the heck out of me. However, the others far outweigh the
Debra Belmudes
2 1/2 stars

I was a little disappointed with this book as I was eager to learn what Andrew McCarthy did with his life following his life in Hollywood. The book is really an introspective look at his withdrawal from life and the use of travel as a means to try to understand himself and deal with his problems.

I think my greatest frustration was the description of his second wedding. Weeks before his Irish wedding, he takes off on travel assignments to Patagonia and the Amazon, arriving just days be
Nov 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
It should had been called "The longest description of a wedding". Borring. Incredibly borring. ...more
Anna Janelle
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
So this one took a while to figure out what I was going to rate it. I honestly believe I liked him more before I read his book. I didn't like hearing about how unsure he was on whether he wanted to marry his partner and mother of his child. He honestly came off as a selfish commitment-phobe and didn't paint his fiancee in the best possible light. I read through it wondering, why are they still together? because they have a child? he's leaving all the planning to her while he runs off and travels ...more
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 landscape ...more
Dec 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
This guy is kind of a whiny baby. Skip this one.
Jane Sinclair
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m half way through this book. It’s one man’s description of some remote locations he’s visiting as a journalist. Interesting sites & people.
Michael Smith
Jan 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
There’s a beautiful narrative woven throughout this book, and beyond McCarthy’s thin layer of privilege is a vulnerable, honest man seeking ways to calm his restlessness.
May 02, 2021 rated it did not like it
The author really comes across as immature, selfish and unlikeable ... how his marriage survived her reading the book, is beyond me.
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, h
Vera Marie
Oct 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel-memoir
This travel memoir surprised me. That’s a good thing. The Longest Way Home started out with three strikes again it:

Andrew McCarthy was a movie star (St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink and lots of other sensitive young man roles in the 1980′s and 90′s) before he wrote about travel. I generally do not like books by celebrities since publishers buy them for the author’s name instead of the content.

The subtitle tipped me off that this is one of those “all about me” books disguised as travel.

I’m suppose
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club-reads

Pros (why I gave it the number of stars that I did):

-I understand that this book was more of a memoir than a travelogue, but I was the most interested and entertained reading McCarthy's actual travel experiences, rather than when he was downing on himself/life, or yearning to be alone and questioning why he wants to be alone. I liked the various characters he met while traveling down the Amazon in the riverboat, as well as those he met scaling Kilimanjaro (another reason why I wished he didn't l
Jan 03, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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Self-indulgent rip off 2 36 Nov 15, 2012 12:59PM  

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Andrew McCarthy is a director, an award winning travel writer, and—of course—an actor. He made his professional début at 19 in Class, and has appeared in dozens of films, including such iconic movies as Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire, Less Then Zero, and cult favorites Weekend At Bernie’s and Mannequin.

He has starred on Broadway and on television, most recently appearing in The Family, on ABC. Mc

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