October 09, 2011
Lost in America: A Dead End Journey by Colby Buzzell
You know, I don't normally think of books as masculine or feminine, I read anything, but this book struck me as being something in the masculine genre. That's not to say it was bad, but I definitely didn't care for it in the same way I don't care for war movies or other like items in that tough guy genre. I'm sure someone out there would have probably appreciated it, but it just wasn't for me.
Colby Buzzell has decided to take a trip across America in a fashion much like that of one of his favorite writers. He takes day laborer jobs to get by and basically looks at the seedy underbelly of America, the poor side and the depressing areas that inhabit the country. His longest time is spent in Detroit, where he visits all the abandoned buildings and learns about the people and communities there. He ends in New York before going back to his wife and child in California.
Buzzell himself stated something very similar to the fact that he isn't a very likable character. He drinks far too much, smokes far too much, and uses strong language. But I wouldn't say he's unlikable, I actually appreciated the honesty with which he portrays himself. He also is honest about the people he meets and you can tell that he respects them no matter their background. And I think that's a very good trait.
The book itself isn't what I expected. When he mentions Travels with Charley and other books of that type in the beginning I thought for sure that this book would be similar. But its not, its more about his particular experiences rather than the people he meets (although there is some of that) and the different jobs he's able to find. There's a lot of his drinking experiences also. I just didn't care for the overall tone of the book and found it mostly depressing. Buzzell has a sense of humour but it only gets to shine through in little bits and the rest of the book leaves me just feeling melancholy. Sure not everything I read has to be happy, but when expecting something different from a book it was a bit of a let down. I found myself struggling to get through it as I just didn't care about another run down building or crappy job that he was experiencing.
I'm rating this a bit higher than I want to because of the mere fact that I can recognize my bias against this book. It definitely isn't to my taste but it is well written and probably a good account of America in some places. It is a very real book and for that I think it deserves three stars when I would have liked to give it less. It is probably a very good book for someone who likes gritty depressing true accounts of America.
Lost in America: A Dead End Journey