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All the Wrong Places: A Life Lost and Found

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  503 ratings  ·  81 reviews
The prize-winning author of Fire Season returns with the heartrending story of his troubled years of flight.

In his debut Fire Season, Philip Connors recounted with lyricism, wisdom, and grace his decade as a fire lookout high above remote New Mexico. Now he tells the story of what made solitude on the mountain so attractive: the years he spent reeling in the wake of a
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 16th 2015 by W. W. Norton Company
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Search to Make Sense of Brother's Suicide Makes for Moving Memoir

A poignant memoir of the author's search for any semblance of sense in his younger brother's suicide. If there's a better description of life after the loss of a family member to suicide, of the grief that grips you, the gnawing need to understand why, the replays over and over of the Lasts (conversation, visit, facial expression, shared moments of youth), of the empty place left in the soul that one tries to, but can not, fill,
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Philip Connors can write - HE CAN WRITE.
Glad I won this Advance Reading Copy from AND thank you.

This book is an unforgettable memoir. He holds nothing back and you wonder why in the world he let it all out. Friends, that's why this is truly a top notch story to read. He tells his story without holding back. The subtitle of the book ' A LIFE LOST AND FOUND' is the biggest hint about his memoir.
He had to find out more about why his brother committed suicide. So, the story begins.
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of memoirs
Shelves: memoir

Connors achieves here everything I love about quality memoir: honest storytelling and emotion, gritty realism, a glimpse into the human condition and plenty of vicarious experience available to the reader. But All the Wrong Places had just a bit more.

Some memoirs, I find, are merely written as catharsis or testimony of the author's troubles and suffering (ie. dear diary...). So much so that when I finish reading them, emotionally exhausted, I figure I should be getting paid to read them because
Mark Bailey
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: melony-office
ALL THE WRONG PLACES is a hero's journey and the story of the emergence of one of the best of the West's new writers.

I had the pleasure of meeting Phil Connors at an Association for the Study of Literature and Environment writer's conference where he was a speaker. Dave Foreman was there too and the three of us had lunch along with my wife and publisher at Torrey House Press, Kirsten Allen. Kirsten ended up sitting with three men who had lost their brothers by their brother's own hand. It was a
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved his first book about the reflections of a fire lookout in the Gila. This book doesn't disappoint either and it explains how he got to be in the Gila. It's the author's personal and introspective journey into finding himself. It's filled with wit and irony and has much soul. It's not meant as a confessional but it's intimate. You feel like you know Philip Connors but perhaps that's the old one. The new one in the Gila we don't know much about and perhaps that's good as living in the now, ...more
A bold, creative work of art. Phillip Connors exposes his psychological
makeup, his interior territory as he lives and works at the Wall Street Journal in New York. From lonely sojourns to the Southwest to intimate (and not-so intimate) connections, he poetically reveals his Shadow, his search for meaningful answers and his new direction. Of course, in his debut memoir, Fire Season, which I read last year, he begins the telling of his new life spent in much solitude working as a fire lookout in a
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
"The pain of it never does fade entirely, never will-no doubt it disfigured me in ways that will endure for what remains of my life- but at last I found a place to put it where it wouldn't eat me alive."
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was hooked from the first page. It was a book about his brother's suicide, but it was so much more. I powered through it in two days while the other books I am reading languished on the shelf. I have not devoured a book like this for a while. Beautifully written. Philip is breathtakingly honest about his life. His honesty is a gift to me, the reader.

I love his clarity about how he started his career as a paper pusher and tried his best to work his way up, but was still dissatisfied.

I love the
Woodstock Pickett
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
I was very impressed with Connors' first published memoir - Fire Season and when I saw he had published a second I didn't hesitate to read it.

What impresses me most about his writing is his willingness to portray parts of his personality and in some cases, his actions or lack of action, trusting the reader to continue to read and to integrate all the pieces of his story into a whole. This was true of Fire Season as well as this second book.

Moving from a Minnesota boyhood, almost fairy tale in

Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Connors writes of a girlfriend recently returned from a stay at a mental health facility, "She shone with a glittering confusion, beautiful and fragile as a Fabergé egg." Having lived through a similar situation, I was struck with his analogy.

He mainly deals with his brother's suicide and how it haunts him to this day. Again, knowing another brother this happens to, makes Connor's writing so much more vivid and truthful.

This is the book I wish I had been given to read when my husband went to
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Having experienced a suicide in the family, I engaged the book on an emotional level, nodding many times as he described his restless, ambivalent, and searching behaviors after his brother's death. That need to endlessly replay the scene and create your own narrative of how and what happened, as though that accomplishes something, sounded familiar. A suicide in the family will reverberate for years to come in a way other losses don't. Definitely finished the book feeling as though I'd read a ...more
Jaclyn Day
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a sharp, emotional memoir that I read two sittings. I didn’t want to put it down. Connors is a near-perfect memoirist, using concise, beautifully-crafted words that can convey entire spectrums of emotions and experiences in just a few short sentences. His honesty is raw and endearing. His need for human connection is palpable. There is a dark humor to his writing that he deploys expertly throughout. I enjoyed this a lot.
Rita Ciresi
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best book I've ever read about surviving sibling suicide. This memoir is beautifully structured and written. It makes me want to go back and read his first book, Fire Season, all over again.
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent memoir. I found bits of myself as I lost myself in his stories.
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
How does one respond to a brother's suicide? What impact does the brother's final, desperate act have on his various family members, friends, ex-fiancee's and others? Can one ever make peace with it?

This book tells Philip Connors story of his relationship with his younger brother and his obsession with his brother's death by suicide that occupied nearly 20 years of his life. Although Connors continues to live... the suicide is nearly always in his thoughts and eventually a motivator of his
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, giveaway
Note: I received an advanced reading copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads.

This is a difficult book to read, which is interesting because Philip Connors has a style that's easy to sink into. Within the first few sentences, it was as though I was overhearing Connors talking with an old friend a few tables away from mine. Maybe I wasn't intended to hear the conversation, but there it was. And it's all there: his brother's suicide, climbing a journalistic ladder at The Wall Street
Dec 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
All the Wrong Places by Philip Connors is a free Goodreads FirstReads advance reader copy of a paperback book that I began reading in mid-February. I had requested this book due to being interested in his previous book, Fire Season, and thought, "Hey, why not devote part of my study hall hours to reading recreationally?"

Connors' autobiographical tone is of the kind of guy who wanders amid the things that happen to him; it's the kind of description that you can coast along with, but not really
Feb 24, 2015 marked it as to-read
I heard Philip Connors on Fresh Air yesterday. Twice, actually--coming home from day classes and then coming home from night class. What a revelation. Probably the best author interview I've heard in some time--the insight into human nature and his own personal tragedy moved me to immediately buy the book.
Holly Ziegler
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Amazing writer! His clarity is flawless. The prose is remarkable!
Contains personal details (of a sexual nature) that some may find offensive. I'm only including this in my review for my "friends". It didn't diminish or even effect the quality of this book, in my opinion. Wow, to the last page!
Tori Miller
Normally I hate long chapters, but I still really liked this memoir. I felt like he was very honest and open and I related to his feelings over the loss of his brother.
Russell Sanders
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In young adult literature, we have the coming of age novel, where a young person goes through a significant experience and comes out the other end ready to face life. Philip Connors’s All the Wrong Places is like a coming of age novel, although it is non-fiction—a memoir—and the main character, Connors, is in his twenties when the story starts and progresses over sixteen years before he comes to accept and learn from the tragic happening that impacted his life and his family. Beautifully written ...more
Obinna Nworkoro
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
The novel All the Wrong Places: A Life Lost and Found by Phillip Connors is an amazingly put together autobiography about a man's solitude for a decade in a remote area. It's about a man who gives up his life on a farm at the young age of 23 purely for the sense that life must be greater than he had known. The main character goes through small misadventures on his way to his destination. It also explores issues between him and his brother. I personally read this book simply because I was bored ...more
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Philip Connors possesses a quietly fierce and mesmerizing prose style, A skeptical and witty mind, a huge heart and a haunted soul. Add it all up and u have one of the best younger writers in America. The story of “All the wrong places” is a moving one, but it’s Conners artistry that makes it transcendent.
Ethan Jones
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An incredible book throughout. I was constantly inspired by the insights into human nature and the conditions of life that the author created. A masterful exploration of mortality, grief, love, and life, this book was able to bring to life the wanderings and trials of existence with beauty and compassion. One of my favorite reads this year.
Ms. G
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Street find -- that is, actually found the book on the street on my way to work on Friday. Seemed like something that I was meant to find. Read it over the weekend. Kindred with the author in many ways, although I have yet to live in the forest. Maybe some day I will.
Kasey Lawson
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
“Ultimately, I found my instincts mirrored in a line from Thoreau: 'My needle...always settles between west and south-southwest. The future lies that way to me, and the earth seems more exhausted and richer on that side.’”
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very well written story about a writers experience and life after the suicide of his brother and the grief that follows. Any book that makes me cry through the last 20 pages or so, has had a profound effect on me.
Theresa Maher
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
So dark. So honest. So well written.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book!
Alicia Gard
Dec 24, 2018 rated it liked it
This book started out quickly catching my attention and it is beautifully written. After about the first third, I struggled as the plot slowed way down and I ended up losing interest. The topic is of course tragic so I wanted to like the book more by the end.
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Philip Connors is the author of Fire Season, which won the Banff Mountain Book Competition Grand Prize, the National Outdoor Book Award, the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award, and the Reading the West Book Award. Connors's writing has also appeared in Harper's, n+1, the Paris Review, and elsewhere. He lives in New Mexico.
“By some miracle the cairn remained untouched by the flames, solid as the day I’d built it, a tiny oasis amid the burn scar. I removed the cap rock. I placed the bone inside. I felt the enormity of his loss once more. The pain of it never does fade entirely, never will—no doubt it disfigured me in ways that will endure for what remains of my life—but at last I found a place to put it where it wouldn’t eat me alive. My devotion to his memory led me there, the place I venerate above all others on earth, my little voodoo shrine to the lost and the damned, as wild and remote as the country of grief itself.” 1 likes
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