If nothing else, Steve Friedman is honest. How else to explain a memoir like Lost on Treasure Island, a book in which Friedman decides to expose himself and what was a rather demeaning lifestyle to the scrutiny of the reading public? Not only is Friedman willing to make himself look bad, he takes it all a step farther by focusing on the very parts of his New York City lifestyle that make him look the worst.
Friedman, from St. Louis, seems to have arrived in New York City with all of his basic insecurities in tow – and has not been quick to lose them during the years he has made his living there, first as a GQ editor and later as a freelance writer. Not the least of his insecurities (once he finally realized that he is not, after all, the least sophisticated man in NYC) pertains to his obsession with identifying his Mrs. Friedman, the woman with whom he and his children will live happily ever after. This is not an easy task for any man or woman, but Friedman’s burning desire to make it happen now distorted his judgment so greatly that he mistakenly found her more than once – much to the women’s surprise and dismay.
During Steve Friedman’s search for Mrs. Right, women, with the exception of the ones he sometimes mistakenly identified as surefire wife-material, became fungible. He was always willing to have one of them around, but he never suspended his hunt for Mrs. Friedman. She had to be out there somewhere. In a twist, perhaps, of poetic justice, as soon as he grew serious about a woman, his obsession tended to scare her away.
Lost on Treasure Island is the story of one Midwesterner’s love life but, as its subtitle implies, it is more a story of “longing” and “lousy choices” than one of true love. The beauty of Lost on Treasure Island is its author’s ability to laugh at himself while sharing the mishaps of his love life (and to a lesser extent, his work life) with the rest of us. This is a man who admits to trolling for lovers several times a week at various support group meetings held around the city, one able to poke fun at the type of writing he edited during his stint at GQ.
Still in New York City, Friedman is now a more experienced, if not necessarily wiser, man than the one who arrived there from St. Louis hoping to make his mark in publishing. Amidst all the mistakes he catalogues in Lost on Treasure Island, he has obviously done some things right. This is his fifth nonfiction book, and he continues to freelance for publications such as GQ, Esquire, The New York Times, and Runner’s World. In the description of his search for Mrs. Friedman and his dream job, Friedman offers hope to the rest of us: perseverance has a way of overcoming the mistakes that would ruin a lesser man.
Rated at: 3.5
(Review Copy provided by Publisher)