Emily's Reviews > The Last American Man

The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert
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's review
Oct 14, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: reviewed
Read from October 14 to 24, 2010

First of all, anyone can tell from reading some of these other reviews that Eustace Conway is a jerk. He just is; there’s no getting around it. I would even go so far as to say he’s a hypocrite. There’s no doubt that this man is talented and hard-working, and has at some point done all the things he has preached to other people about. And there may have been a point in his life in which he had the proper attitude and motivation to change the world, like he claims he wants to, but here’s where the hypocrisy comes in: he can’t change people as a whole if he can’t stand people as a whole. He is stereotypical and cynical, and a bit flighty about what his goals are when it comes to really making them happen.

But there’s another possible side to this. Maybe he’s just become a grumpy old man and dwells too much on the negative experiences he’s had with people who he has attempted to teach his way of life to (I find it hard to believe he has encountered that many idiots without a large number of good workers/environmentalists to balance it out)…. or maybe that’s just the way Elizabeth Gilbert writes it. I can’t say I was fond of her writing at all. It was very informal. I don’t care how close she is to Conway’s family, how hot she thinks his brother is, or how many romantic relationships Conway has had (which got rather redundant and immature – another example of Conway’s bad attitude and perhaps Gilbert’s poor choice of subject matter). And it seemed to me that she was out of place when expressing Conway’s opinions and feeling for him without quoting him. She may be a friend of his, but she didn’t initially approach this biography as a friend’s account of Conway’s life, but as an author out to find the truth about Conway’s life. Therefore I don’t think her assumptions were fitting.

I give this book two stars instead of one because Conway used to have a good message, which was mentioned at some point in the story, and it was at times interesting. As for the rest of the book, I don’t see myself ever picking it up again, and I probably wouldn’t have in the first place had it not been required for a class.
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