Book Reviews

Book Review: The Emancipation of a Buried Man by Eddy Gilmore

The Emancipation of a Buried Man by Eddy Gilmore

Publication Date: March 26th, 2015

Publisher: Wandering Man Books

Genre(s): Memoir

Series Status: Stand alone

Pages: 310

Format and Source: ePub, Sent from author in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A child of a hoarder—an outcast growing up amid shocking squalor—finds purpose in this vivid memoir.

Broken, alone and buried in a house full of junk and shame, Eddy Gilmore takes the “normal” route out—institutionalized learning. But when college life fails to offer meaning, the young man reaches a turning point, a point at which he abandons social norms, abandons the status quo, and strikes out on his own.

A lifetime of adventure packed into a nine-month “gestational” period awaits: face-to-face encounters with wildlife, a devastating monsoon, a magical winter near the Canadian border, the kindness of strangers.

Gilmore’s quest for knowledge and wisdom through experience, adventure, faith, and books will engage you as the author comes to fully experience the world for the first time.

The Emancipation of a Buried Man is a memoir that tells a tale of someone who has so-far lived an extraordinary life. I have so much to say about this book, and so much can be interpreted from it. So I’m going to start with the first thing that comes to my head (out of the many points there are).

It is split into two parts: Lost, and Found. In Lost we see the story of a boy growing up in a hovel due to his mother being a hoarder. He himself becomes a hoarder of animals in a way to seek companionship, but this only made the house he lived in even more foul. Eddy grew up unable to fit in at school, and ‘lonely’ being the key term to describe his childhood. Found on the other hand sees Eddy breakout of the shell he has been unhappily living in and taking time off from college to go on an adventure of spiritual enlightenment and wilderness.

What I realised about this when I was half way through the Found section of the book is that each section is written in an entirely different way. Whilst Found flows easily and generally chronologically through his life, documenting his travels and discoveries, Lost was quite the opposite. It was mish-mash of different aspects of his life that have shaped him, with no real rhyme or reason behind the chapters being organised they way they are. And, though I don’t know whether that was on purpose or not, I like that. In a way it mirrors how his life was, a mess of different experiences and stories which were all shoved together to create him. Only in Found do these come together to make sense, and, in a way, complete him. It’s as if he finally found order in the chaos.

This book is filled with so many outrageous stories, from taking a dump in his mum’s boyfriend’s car, to surviving a near-collision with a moose. But this is isn’t what makes this book special to me. What I really loved is the child-like fascination he has of the world. He sees the scenery as more than just a backdrop to our lives as most of us do, but as something that we must bask in. Instead of constantly chattering or having music in the background, he notes the importance of enjoying silence and our own thoughts.

Another thing I noticed is his fascination with other people too. Throughout his journeys he seemed to remember the people he came across and their lives. I doubt many of us would talk to random strangers, let alone ask about their lives.

His attitude towards enjoying life instead of living for the sake of it is something I aspire to have. This book has opened up my eyes to entirely new view. I am very academically based and enjoy learning, but here he made me realise that you can learn a lot through travelling and seeing new, strange things. Even talking to new people broadens your mind. It’s almost as if as I followed him on this journey of self-discovery I discovered things too that I have never considered.

This is a book I highly recommend. You don’t often see a book that can change your outlook on life in a little over three hundred pages, but this did. If you read this you will follow him on this painful yet humorous journey, read stories of train rides and mountains of junk, and then come out the other side with the seeds of new ideas and beliefs planted in your mind.


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