The Urban Hermit

July 15, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Memoir | 3 Comments

Imagine The Tightwad Gazette as written by a morbidly obese Hunter S. Thompson.  That’s the closest I can come to describing The Urban Hermit, by Sam MacDonald.  It’s the singular tale of a young man who stumbles across an orderly life by following a rather bizarre whim.  It might be the funniest thing I’ve read this year.

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My own ascetic leanings attract me to books that might teach me how to do it better and cheaper.  I assumed, when I saw The Urban Hermit, that he would be… well, frankly I assumed he would be a left-winger.  I thought this book would talk about the environment and spiritual seeking.  That’s part of what makes the book such a prize:  MacDonald is not your typical candidate for the eremitical lifestyle.  He’s more like the guy manning the keg at a backyard barbecue.

MacDonald is a born raconteur, the sort who can make any story enjoyable.  But the details!  He decides to get on top of his debt by restricting his diet to 800 calories per day.  This harebrained idea may, unbelievably, turn out to be the best one he ever has. You’ll just have to read it to find out how he tells it.  This is one I would like to hear on audio, narrated by the author.

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