Dan's Reviews > Everett Ruess: A Vagabond for Beauty & Wilderness Journals

Everett Ruess by W.L. Rusho
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's review
Mar 23, 2009

really liked it
Read in January, 2010 — I own a copy

This is exciting I may actually finally have an opinion about a book!

I have a respect for Everett, but also a slight disrespect. His "life" as he called it, consisted of spending months at a time in the wild, at the mercy of the good people around him. He would meet people in the wild, and get invited to meals. Or trade paintings for meals or try working for food. He would also get money from Home, 15 dollars allowance here and there. He lived for months at a time in the national forest, or the Arizona strip.

I do respect this individualist spirit. The idea of living "deliberately" ala HD Thoreau. I like the thought of being in the woods removed from society and depending on yourself. I understand it. I know what the draw feels like. I've done it. I spent 4 summers in the Tushar mt's, building my own log cabin, making my own soap, sewing my own shirts and climbing spar trees to top them for cabin shingles. I can relate and respect the contribution of Everett, yet something in the back of my head keeps nagging at me about these kids, particularly Everett and Chris McCandless (Into the wild) and even Aaron One-Arm Ralston. It's this idea of I am going to make it on my own and no one else can come into my wilderness. I want the wilderness to be there as much as the next Abbey or Muir, but we all live here. It doesn't just belong to one guy with a backpack, or especially one guy with an ATV. And I'm sorry Mr. Rancher, your cattle ranch isn't the original owner either. If the American Indians had merely had a better immigration policy you'd still be in Wales or Germany. You can't keep me out, and you can't claim complete independence, especially when you rely on everything you take with you into the back country. Sort of a dichotomy i suppose, you're never really "off the grid". Even Thoreau lived in a loaner cabin from his buddy.

But I digress. I did have one major serious criticism of this book. I love the mystery of the disappearance of Everett, and I somewhat enjoyed the wilderness journals he left us behind. But the one thing I cannot tolerate is the fact that his mother prior to allowing his journals get published, sanitized them! You will be reading along and as it gets interesting, you see [21 lines erased:]... What!? What do you mean x number of lines erased! What happened? How am I supposed to get any insight into the mind of this kid when you have censored out the thought process!? Unfathomable and very aggravating. This was the one major detraction in the book. I would totally recommend the "Vagabond for Beauty" and NOT recommend you waste your time on the "Wilderness Journals". "I rode the mules along the trail today and fished... Rain"
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message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann I think you should tell us how you really feel, Dan.
But I agree with you. Especially about how Mom's should stay out of it.

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