The Lost Son: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Road to Redemption (and True American Parable)

Peter McNeela. No Frills Buffalo, $19.95 trade paper (372p) ISBN 978-0-692-75234-0
In this melodramatic memoir, McNeela, a 27-year-old former medical resident with pervasive suicidal thoughts, takes a nearly three-week solo cross-country trek in search of his identity and purpose in life. Beginning with his youth, McNeela documents his attempts to become a physician before quitting for good amid massive debt and despair. Then, on July 20, 1999, he begins an “odyssey” by car going from Buffalo, N.Y., to New Orleans, then west to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, Nev., and finally ending up in Utah, staying at campgrounds and hostels along the way. He punctuates his tale with rock-music references, but his ever-present fears, frustrations, and anxieties are the more memorable takeaways. McNeela is highly intelligent and ponders profound topics such as his faith and the destruction of the environment, but the stilted, overwritten feel of his prose may create a disconnect between him and readers (e.g., describing a dry mouth as “my soundly vanquished salivary glands, which had long surrendered their fluid-producing capabilities...”). There are many educational “lessons,” opinionated digressions, and “divine interventions” interspersed throughout his travel diary, and, although he professes to have gained an inner peace and knowledge about his place in the world, readers are left with only a vague understanding of his new direction. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 08/28/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
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