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Evolution Man: Or, How I Ate My Father Paperback – August 30, 1994

4.7 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This humorous account of an upwardly mobile Pleistocene family's life was first published in 1960.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries
  • Paperback: 213 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Contemporaries Ed edition (August 30, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679750096
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679750093
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #369,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
We first read this book in Kenya in the early 60s, while we were working on the archaeology of early man. Subsequently my husband taught anthropology (Plio-Pleistocene archaeology) at U.C. Berkeley and used it as a text to lighten his Introduction to Archaeology classes. As "practitioners" we found it hilarious and amazingly insightful, and it has continued to provide amusement ever since. Our battered paperback has long needed replacement, and is shelved where it cannot be permanently borrowed by an envious reader. PLEASE reprint in English. I always wanted to ask Mr. Lewis if he had modelled Father after Dr. Louis Leakey.... Another light-hearted and well-informed view of evolution is the Larry Gonick "History of Everything, Including Sex"
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Format: Paperback
Sweet Jehovah, this is a funny book. The conceit is an obvious one when you think about it - write the story of our evolutionary ancestors from a first-person perspective, but in a language that shows all the sensibilities of a well-read, reflective and slightly pompous late-nineteenth century Englishman. The courtship scenes alone I think I have re-read about fifty times and never without laughing.
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Format: Paperback
"The Evolution Man, Or, How I Ate My Father" tells about a normal family in prehistorical times. The main character, Ernest, reminiscences how his family/clan, which was led by his father, discovered fire, domesticated dogs, invented the first bow, drew the first cave drawings, and more. Even though this
family lived thousands and thousands of years ago, they weren't so different from us. In fact, what I particularly liked about this book is that the main characters, while still ape-men, are talking and thinking like modern people. Ernest's father and his uncle keep arguing how "Modern Technology" (i.e., fire) is dangerous, and how maybe they should go back to the trees. Despite that, they are STILL ape-men: when Ernest's brother finds a wife, Ernest keeps thinking how amazingly fat she is - meaning, truly gorgeous!
Even though this book was very humoristic, it was also intellectually stimulating. It offered some very interesting points about how many things which are the cornerstones of human life started. All this is presented in a truly hilarious way.
I wholeheartly recommend this book for anyone, especially if you're a bit interested on how the human species was at the very beginning. Absolutely a wonderful book - I wish I could see this as a movie.
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Format: Paperback
Ernest is young man growing up in a not-so-typical Pleistocene family. His father, Edward, has invented portable fire and is pushing, pushing, pushing for mankind to evolve at at faster rate. Uncle Vanya thinks they are flirting with disaster, what with all this eating of animal flesh and using fire, and what were they thinking coming down from the trees in the first place, but Father continues on his scientific (and otherwise) experiments. These experiments put Ernest and his brothers in all kinds of interesting predicaments (which, frankly, beats beating flints all day long) as they hurry to advance their horde out of the Pleistocene era into a new and glorious future.

This is not a slap-stick funny book, it is an intellectually funny book that also has hilarious moments. I had to go for the dictionary a few times, which was funny in and of itself--getting the dictionary to look up a big word that some caveman is using. It's also an allegory of sorts, a stop and think kind of book. Even while I was laughing my head off about Uncle Vanya warning Father about the dangers of progress and telling him to go back to the trees, I could. . . well, I could see both sides--hear myself in both sides actually. I've never read a book like it, quite frankly. I picked it up because Terry Pratchett mentioned it as his all time favorite book and I can see the attraction. It's one I will have to read again, digest, laugh and think over some more.

Lewis' writing is wonderful; droll, dry wit and amazingly detailed description sandwiched in with just darn good writing. His pictures of family life are so real that I dare say he's warped any historical notions I may have had of the Pleistocene era. Overall, this is just a masterful book, but I recognize that I may not be for everyone because it's a book whose humor is not just laid out for you--you have to think a little too.
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Format: Paperback
You MUST read this book if you are into parenting, humor and/or family books. The ingenious concept of critiquing "modern" (circa 1960) life in the stone age is thoroughly explored and carried out with grace, insight, intelligence and literally laugh-out-loud humor. Truly a one-of-a-kind book. I read it in my small-town library in the late 60s and was so surprised it had been re-published. Thank god. If you're looking for another hilarious, smart and offbeat book about family life, try "I Sleep At Red Lights: A True Story of Life After Triplets," by Bruce Stockler.
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Format: Paperback
I had this book in the early '90's and loaned it to a friend. This friend gave it to another and that person to another... basically the book went missing. I have been searching for it ever since. I'm so very happy that it's in print again. Of course I had to buy a copy. I don't want to give any details without giving away the story - just believe me when I say that this is the funniest book I have ever read!
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