On Not Playing It Safe


“P.S. Reading is a commitment. You’ve got to disengage and pay attention. But when done right, you enter a whole ’nother world. Kind of like a great record, at least those of yore which were not background but doors to an alternative universe. You can bat people over the head or you can entice them with quality and word of mouth. That’s how Wild made it, the buzz is deafening. Assuming you’re paying attention. Don’t let it turn you off. The great thing about this book is it’s personal. And personal, when done right, is universal.”

This postscript is from a Lefsetz Letter.

Bob Lefsetz has been writing and sending his letters for more than twenty-five years. Mostly the subject is music or the music industry, though not always, and he’s a pretty outspoken critic.

Yesterday he reviewed Cheryl Strayed’s Wild:

“I’ll admit I was interested because of the adventure angle, young twentysomething decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, alone. But that’s not why I loved this book, why I could not put it down, why I spent all weekend reading it.

Cheryl Strayed, the author, is searching for a lesson.

I didn’t find one.

But I got a lot of insight into the female mind. And it was fascinating to see life from the perspective of another, whose upbringing was not the same. We’re all too often living in a cocoon. We read about people richer or poorer, victims of tragedy, but not those just like us but…different.”

Full text of the review at the Lefsetz Letter archive.

Kevin Nolan writes essays and fiction. More from this author →