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The Longest Way Home: One Man's Quest for the Courage to Settle Down Paperback – June 4, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (June 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451667507
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451667509
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #437,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Who knew that McCarthy, a familiar face on the big screen (St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink) and the small (Law & Order, Monk), is also a noted travel writer! An editor at large for National Geographic Traveler and winner of several awards (including Travel Journalist of the Year), he contributes travel articles to numerous publications, and his work has appeared in the anthology The Best American Travel Writing. This is not some memoir written by an actor who fancies himself a world traveler. McCarthy really is a world traveler—and a damned fine writer, too. The book features eight destinations—New York, Patagonia, the Amazon, the Osa, Vienna, Baltimore, Kilimanjaro, and Dublin—and, along the way, McCarthy explores himself, too, introducing us to a man whose love for life is matched only by his love for the woman he would eventually marry (and whose growing importance to McCarthy is a thread that runs throughout the book). To readers who think, “Andrew McCarthy? Really?” the answer is a resounding and emphatic yes. Really. --David Pitt --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Soulful and searching . . . McCarthy’s prose shines with intelligence and intimacy . . . A long, strange trip on the direction of full-throttle love.” (Cheryl Strayed New York Times Book Review)

“A candid, touching, and often humorous new memoir.” (The San Francisco Chronicle)

"Combining the best aspects of Paul Theroux’s misanthropy in books like Old Patagonian Express and Elizabeth Gilbert’s emotions in Eat, Pray, Love, this book is hard to put down.  Bound to be popular, this compelling and honest chronicle will not disappoint readers." (Library Journal)

“Andrew McCarthy treks from Baltimore to the Amazon, exploring his commitment issues as fearlessly as he scales Mount Kilimanjaro." (Elle)

"Brave and moving...McCarthy’s keen sense of scene and storytelling ignites his accounts...[t]hreaded with an exemplary vulnerability and propelled by a candid exploration of his own life’s frailties." (National Geographic)

"McCarthy ponders some of the biggest and most frightening questions surrounding intimacy: How does a loner connect? How does a traveler settle down? How do we merge into families without losing ourselves? The answer seems to be that all these things are impossible...and yet somehow we do it anyway. There is much to be learned, and much to be admired, in this elegant, thoughtful story."—Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love


"This is not some memoir written by an actor who fancies himself a world traveler. McCarthy really is a world traveler – and a damned fine writer, too…To readers who think, “Andrew McCarthy? Really?” the answer is a resounding and emphatic yes. Really." (Booklist)

"Rarely have I seen the male psyche explored with such honesty and vulnerability. This is the story of a son, a father, a brother, a husband, a man who finds the courage not only to face himself, but to reveal himself, and, in so doing, illuminates something about what it is to be human, fully alive, and awake.” --Dani Shapiro, Author of Devotion

"It's hard to write books that are both adventurous and touching, but Andrew McCarthy manages to pull it off and more! A smart, valuable book." --Gary Shteyngart, bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story and Absurdistan

"Where lesser writers might reach for hyperbole and Roget to describe such exotic lands as Patagonia, Kilimanjaro and Baltimore, in The Longest Way Home, McCarthy leans on subtlety, a straightforward style and hard-won insights to allow his larger stories to unfold. It’s not hard to imagine him as the solitary figure in the café, scribbling in a notebook by candlelight, making the lonely, tedious work of travel writing look romantic and easy."--Chuck Thompson, author of Better Off Without 'Em and Smile When You're Lying

"As an actual voyage, McCarthy's globe-trotting tale is an evocative, highly entertaining read. But as an introspective and emotional journey, his story is unforgivingly honest, courageous, and hard to put down." --David Farley, author of An Irreverent Curiousity

“McCarthy delivers a deeply revealing memoir about settling down, both with a woman and in his own skin. An unflinchingly honest examination of his life as an actor, son, brother, husband, and father, as well as his struggle with commit­ting to a woman in his life whom he plans to—and does, by the end of the book—marry in Dublin. Alcoholism, infidelity, the dark side of celebrity—McCarthy holds nothing back. … he skillfully brings the locations and their characters to life. …Like the best travel, accompanying McCarthy on his road toward self-awareness and the woman he loves is much more about the journey than the destination.” (Gotham magazine)

“A must-read for any dude finding his way.” (Askmen.com)

Customer Reviews

Mr. McCarthy has a pretty good way about making you feel that you are in the story and that you can see and feel what he does.
Amazon Customer
Andrew McCarthy writes about his travels and his struggle to commit to a woman he's clearly in love with in this travel memoir/psychological examination of self.
Rita Arens
That melodrama aside, this is an insightful, enjoyable book that makes you see travel, and why people do it, in a very different way.
Larry Hoffer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Casee Clow on September 18, 2012
Color Name: Hardcover
Actor/director Andrew McCarthy may be universally acknowledged as a member of the Brat Pack for roles in such films as Pretty in Pink and St. Elmo's Fire, but it's his second, less mainstream career as a travel writer that takes the helm of his new memoir, The Longest Way Home: One Man's Quest for the Courage to Settle Down. At the book's beginning Andrew and his fiancé, affectionately referred to as D, have finally embarked on the decision to marry after years of courtship. For the solitary, commitment-claustrophobic Andrew this is the sort of gigantic leap that requires a great deal of confidence, and perhaps an even greater deal of anticipatory panic. Having used travel all his life as a means to escape into an anonymous sort of blissful freedom, he embarks on and recounts several journeys that ultimately lead him to his biggest confrontation: his wedding day.

While he occasionally features an anecdote or two from his movie star days - the Brat Pack, he reveals, was never as close-knit of a group as society perpetuated - it's his life as a traveler that takes the spotlight in his memoir. A single comrade on one of his voyages expresses that Andrew's face looks familiar, but otherwise there's no Hollywood glamour to be had, and the book is all the more enriched by its absence. What results is something much more human, much more relatable: the story of a man with fears and the woman, the family, and the destinations who push him out of his comfort zone and into his ultimate happiness. His reflections on his own struggles in life - from the grasping anxiety of turbulence on a plane to the more philosophical issues he's loathe to confront - make for an especially engaging commentary, and result in an emotional evolution that leaves the reader self-aware and inspired.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Nora lynch on September 22, 2012
Color Name: Hardcover
The longest way home is fantastic! It is a thought providing work with wonderful travel segments interwoven with Andrew McCarthys internal struggle and life journey. There are many times that one can identify with McCarthy while he travels on his deply personal journey. I found the book to be very moving and inspiring without being remotely self indulgent. The sense of remove and isolation that McCarthy portrays diminishes over the course of his journey with a fitting conclusion on Kilimanjaro. The warmth and love that emanates from a family trip to Vienna reaches out to the reader and covers you like a warm blanket. Patagonia, the amazon, the OSA etc have all come alive for me having read this book. The personal and travel are beautifully enmeshed and of course the recurring theme of journey excites the reader as you want the writer to succeed in his quest for commitment and happiness.
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Color Name: Hardcover
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, he's also added travel writer to his list of accomplishments. As an editor-at-large for National Geographic Traveler, You'd think I would have noticed his writing since I've read the magazine for years, but maybe I just didn't realize it was the same guy. Needless to say, when this book came up for review, I jumped at the chance to read it.

McCarthy's inability to commit to his long time partner, known as "D" in the book is what sends him into a tailspin. The wedding date has been set, but the details as far as when & where cause him anxiety that can only be controlled by hitting the road. So, that is what he does. He climbs Kilimanjaro, spends some time in Costa Rica, Patagonia and Spain and all the while, D is waiting at home, touching base with him when she can.

As much as I adore McCarthy, I was frustrated with his tendency to flee every time decisions needed to be made. It's a classic case of cold feet but the book promises a "quest" and to me, that means that at some point, you put the hiking boots away and come back as a complete person. I'm not sure that happened here. He does a lot of soul-searching, but I don't feel that he understood himself any better at the end of this adventure, than he did at the beginning.

As for the adventure, McCarthy is kind of a loner so there aren't too many meaningful interactions with the people he encounters. It's mostly him, and what he was thinking at the time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lori on September 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book on a whim after seeing Andrew McCarthy on the Today Show. I hadn't seen him since the 1980s and had no idea that he had taken up as a writer. But regardless, I find him totally charming, and once I saw his smile on screen, I immediately picked up my Kindle. Honestly, I wasn't expecting much more from his book than a way to pass the time during a 4-hour train ride later that day. To my surprise, I am completely engrossed in his stories, moved by them, and even connecting to them on so many levels. Whether it is the world traveler in me who relates to his tale, or the thirtysomething New Yorker who is at a crossroads, it doesn't really matter. By the end, I was rooting for him, for D, and for myself. Any fan of travel writing or memoirs, and anyone who has ever been lost, literally or figuratively, should not be disappointed here.
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