Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Urban Hermit

The Urban Hermit

A Memoir

Sam Macdonald

St. Martin's Press



Faced with the truth that his debts and his waistline had both ballooned out of control, Sam MacDonald devised a plan to change his life.

When Sam graduated from Yale in 1995, he watched a classmate make inroads as a head-office guy in professional baseball, another become a day-trading millionaire, and another develop connections at the Playboy Mansion. Struggling to make ends meet, he shrugged his shoulders at their success and raised a tall one to them.

It wasn't until April 2000 that Sam got his wake-up call. He weighed 340 lbs. He was flat broke. And the IRS had caught up with him.

In a desperate attempt to save himself, Sam decided to limit himself to a budget of $8 a week and 800 calories a day. He called it "The Urban Hermit Plan."

He thought he would do it for a month. Instead, he embarked on a bizarre year-long journey. He lost 160 pounds in the process, befriended rent-dodging trailer-park denizens, flew to Bosnia on assignment, traveled to a peace festival in a hippie van, had a run-in with Cooter from the Dukes of Hazzard, and met the woman who would later become his wife.

The Urban Hermit is a wildly hilarious story about backwoods living, as told by a man who should have known better.


Praise for The Urban Hermit

“Hilarious and truly a weight-loss manual written by Hunter Thompson or financial planning advice from Charles Bukowski.” —Neal Pollack, author of Alternadad

“Sam MacDonald is a strong new voice in the field of creative nonfiction. His book tells the compelling story of a man, obsessed with weight loss, haunted by demons, overcoming all obstacles and achieving a significant goal. It is powerful reading in direct and down-to-earth prose.” —Lee Gutkind author, ALMOST HUMAN: Making Robots Think

“Raw and brutally honest, Sam McDonald has a way of grabbing you by the throat and demanding that you stay with him on his wild and hilarious romp of self-reinvention. Read this book for the powerful storytelling, read it for the laughs, read it for the privilege of getting to know a charming new voice--read it for the quiet rumble of hope McDonald so masterfully imbeds within these pages.” —Jeanne Marie Laskas, author of Growing Girls: The Mother of All Adventures

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Sam Macdonald

Sam MacDonald graduated from Yale University in 1995. He teaches Creative Nonfiction at the University of Pittsburgh.

Sam Macdonald

Sam Macdonald

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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