Man Bites Log
Unlikely Stories from a City Guy in the Woods
By Max Alexander
(Da Capo Press, Paperback, 9780786714124, 304pp.)
Publication Date: September 2004
Categories: Form - Essays
Max Alexander had been the executive editor of Variety and was the senior editor at People magazine in charge of all Hollywood coverage, when he decided one day that the glitz of Tinseltown and the glamour of New York didn't quite hold the allure they once had. So Alexander turned down yet another fancy magazine job, and family in tow, moved to a farmhouse in rural Maine, where he suddenly found himself forced to confront neighbors who "speak slowly but are hard to understand, and drive slower but are impossible to pass." In the course of this both sobering and hilarious how-not-to, Alexander covers the gamut, from doing his best to avoid burning down the barn, and occasional intrusions from his previous life, to what E.B. White calls the "basic satisfaction of farming"—manure. Approaching what passes for small-town life in rural New England with the gusto and nose for a scoop of a seasoned Hollywood reporter, Alexander puts a new spin on the tradition launched by Thoreau's reportage from Walden. Man Bites Log is an essential collection for readers of back-to-the-land literature, and anyone convinced that la dolce vita can be found in a pile of dung.