Travels with Lizbeth: Three Years on the Road and on the Streets

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9780449909430: Travels with Lizbeth: Three Years on the Road and on the Streets

"Remarkable . . . irresistibly funny." The New Yorker
The true story of a modern Robinson Crusoe and Huckleberry Finn, a homeless man and his erstwhile companion, a dog named Lizbeth, and their unbelievable, funny and poignant adventures on the road and on the streets.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Steinbeck, Eighner isn't--his stiff sentences and three-dollar words betray him--and Lizbeth is no Charley, either. But as a once- homeless gay writer who, with his dog, was down and out from Austin to Hollywood, Eighner has an unusual tale to tell nonetheless. Unfortunately, he's told the best part of it in ``On Dumpster Diving,'' an essay about living out of dumpsters that's included here but that's already reached a wide readership through its original publication in Threepenny Review and reprinting in nine periodicals and seven anthologies. A nifty bit of urban anthropology, it balances street savvy (``Candy...is usually safe if it has not drawn ants'') and pavement philosophy (``Once I was the sort of person who invests objects with sentimental value. Now I no longer have those objects, but I have the sentiments yet''). Here, it's embedded in the fortysomething author's account of his wanderings in the late 80's as he--after quitting a job at a mental hospital--tried to make it as a writer (mostly of gay, often erotic, fiction). The problem is that, as Eighner admits, ``Every life has trivial occurrences, pointless episodes, and unresolved mysteries, but a homeless life has...virtually nothing else.'' What's offered here, though, is mostly minutiae of Eighner's own homeless life: hunting for food, shelter, and rides; befriending this vagabond and that; gay couplings. Occasionally, Eighner soapboxes (e.g., contending that the number of homeless addicts is ``greatly overestimated'') or injects minor drama into his yarn (e.g., Lizbeth's capture by a dogcatcher--an incident that reveals cracks in the author's facade when he says that it allowed him to understand mass vengeance killings by lone gunmen). But for the most part, Eighner's story is a tedious one, told with little style. A more reliable memoir of homeless life than Joe Homeless's My Life on the Streets (1992)--but less revealing and gripping than Jennifer Toth's The Mole People (p. 924). -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

A writer of gay erotic fiction, Eighner first attracted the attention of the literary world when the Threepenny Review published "On Dumpster Diving," his essay on how to forage for food, clothing, and other items from dumpsters. That piece is included in this remarkable account of Eighner's three years of homelessness. After quitting his job at a state mental hospital and being evicted from his rented shack, Eighner embarked with his dog, Lizbeth, on an odyssey of hitchhiking from Texas to California and back and of struggling to live on Austin's inhospitable streets. Refusing to panhandle or steal and fiercely attached to Lizbeth (a bed at the Salvation Army would have meant putting her to sleep), he endured numerous misfortunes and indignities. At first, Eighner's wierd prose--stiff, with lots of big 19th-century words--is off-putting, but then his unique voice--part naif innocent, part eccentric fool--has the reader rooting for Eighner and Lizbeth. Strongly recommended.
- Wilda Wil liams, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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ISBN 10: 0449909433 ISBN 13: 9780449909430
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