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The Emancipation of a Buried Man

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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.

310 pages, Paperback

First published March 26, 2015

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About the author

Eddy Gilmore

2 books35 followers
With 19 years of bedwetting experience under his belt, and a childhood spent enduring a broken home so cluttered with rotting detritus that piles nearly reached the ceiling, Eddy Gilmore has been gifted with a unique perspective on life. He lives in Duluth, Minnesota, where he writes a newspaper column and loves to play along the shores of Lake Superior with his wife and children. Discover more at eddygilmore.com.

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5 stars
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17 (32%)
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10 (18%)
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Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews
Profile Image for John Baker.
1 review1 follower
April 8, 2015
It’s impossible not to pull for Eddy Gilmore after reading about the heinous situations that define his childhood – a chronic bed-wetting problem, massaging lotion into the awful feet of his mother’s boyfriend, attending school with no eyebrows, defecating into a folded newspaper while sweltering in the Fleet Farm parking lot.

Gilmore blends tragedy and comedy beautifully in this unforgettable memoir. For years he struggles to find meaning and purpose in a home void of healthy relationships or role models. His mother’s epic hoarding problem becomes a source of shame and, ultimately, a metaphor for Gilmore’s childhood as the weight of the world – and a house full of filth – bear down on him.

With few friends and little zest for life, Gilmore initially follows the path trodden by so many of America’s youth when he leaves his childhood home for college hundreds of miles away. But institutionalized learning soon proves as mundane and empty as his previous life.

About this time, Gilmore discovers a new-found love for life due in large part to developing a relationship with God and cultivating a deep-seated love for the outdoors. Gilmore decides to leave school for a semester in order to truly live life for the first time. His journey, which coincidentally spans nine months and ends in a “rebirth” of sorts, presents one fascinating story after another as Gilmore sings to a herd of elk, wages war against a briar thicket, snowshoes to the top of Minnesota on the coldest day of the year and discovers “The Pigeon” – a sanctuary of peace and serenity hidden along the Canadian border.

That Gilmore emerges from his childhood a sober and healthy person is testament to the strength of the human spirit. I trust you’ll find his story as memorable and inspiring as I do.
Profile Image for Alicia.
37 reviews4 followers
January 10, 2016
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.

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.
Profile Image for Torrie.
25 reviews
April 10, 2015
This book was difficult to put down. It gives a heartbreaking look into the life of a friend. We all have pasts and this book is such a poignant reminder that we never know what each other has gone through. Always show kindness! You never know what it may mean to someone!
Profile Image for Alana Muir.
Author 2 books12 followers
April 18, 2015
This was one of those books that I found myself thinking about and talking about whenever I wasn't reading it voraciously. I don't know that I've read a memoir this honest before. Most memoirs try to make light of the painful and paint the author as the one "good person" in the story. Eddy never presents himself as purely innocent and perfect, nor as some kind of anti-hero. He is simply a real and complex human being, learning how to be a person in this world. His circumstances are possibly more extreme than most, but his experience of trying to become himself is universal and relatable.

In a few places, Eddy writes in the second person or in other ways "breaks the rules" of good writing, but it works. It serves the story and keeps his voice authentic. I just can't recommend this book enough.
Profile Image for Sarah.
14 reviews4 followers
April 6, 2015
I couldn't put this book down. It's absolutely captivating. Eddy paints such a vivid picture of his childhood and emancipation from it. I felt like I went through the whole journey with him. My heart broke for this child, and was filled with joy as he became comfortable in his own skin. I'm going to be thinking about it for a long time. Heaviest on my heart while reading was that we just never know people's stories. We don't know what they're coming from and where they have been. Everyone deserves more patience, love, and grace. We don't know what effect the smallest gesture of kindness might have on someone's entire life. I think everyone should read it!
Profile Image for Liset Merritt.
13 reviews
June 9, 2015
This is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time. It made me stop and think about how we perceive people and how you never know what someone's story is and how important it is to be kind to everyone. It made me stop and think about sunsets and quiet forests and the way the air smells just before it snows. It made me stop and think about things that I often take for granted. Eddy's story is remarkable and filled with humor and a hard won wisdom. This is a must-read for anyone who is starting to feel a little jaded by life.
9 reviews
April 25, 2015
A friend from my college days wrote this book and it is amazing! Eddy has a great voice and tells a compelling story. I am still reeling from the effect of his courage in sharing some of the darker parts of his story. Read and enjoy!
Profile Image for David Schramm.
173 reviews1 follower
December 1, 2015
I will take a little bit extra time to review this book and author due to the fact he put so much of himself out there to be seen. A really brave thing and also admiral for what he has to say. I judge this to be one of those books people should read. It not only will open your eyes to the topic of extreme hoarding but also the ability of nature and the outdoors to heal us.

I have known one person who was a hoarder. A fact that cost that person some very important things in their lives. It is hard to explain to someone how spirit rending this situation can be. Loneliness and depression very common results of this disability. It is not a matter of laziness or something that you can change easily....if you can even change it in a person. This being said, I cannot even imagine how horrible it was to be in your position. The things you tell us astound me. I would say I could empathize, but that would be understating the tough situation that you not only lived through but manage to keep an attitude that could only be referred to as miraculous. For someone considering reading this book....read it! You will not believe the stories he has to tell about his house.

Then we move into the second half of the book. A redemption of the soul. How the author managed to keep this positive almost innocent view of the world. With this innocence he gave himself to God. A total trust that he was being watched over. Nature seems a logical place for him to turn to in his life. The open air not only fresh in the most conventional sense but also as a way for him to refresh his life. Finally able to take a breath.

Eddy, though I have never met you, I have tremendous respect for you. Keep being the person who isn't conventional. There are things that you can never replace by being as such. It is not a lifestyle for all people of course. It is one that can build character and faith in a creative and soundly down to earth way.

Simply put.....Thank you for this look into your life.

Profile Image for Rachele Willoughby.
4 reviews1 follower
March 14, 2016
The beginning (when he was regularly interacting with people) was quite good. The end (when he was regularly interacting with people) was, quite honestly, fascinating. Unfortunately, the whole middle...

Look, I love the outdoors rather more than the next guy. I spend weeks every summer roughing it in the mountains. But it takes a certain style of writing to write about a beautiful waterfall and make me want to read it and that's just not how Mr. Gilmore writes. He's at his best when he's being casual and funny and at his worst when he's trying to share with us the majesty of the things he saw and felt during his times out-of-doors. Things like that are really hard to get across in a first person account.

All in all, I'd probably read another of his books if he published it (as long as it's not another hiking memoir). I enjoyed the beginning and the end of the story but I skipped and skimmed more than a third of the book in between -and I never skip or skim.
Profile Image for Chrystal.
737 reviews49 followers
April 28, 2018
I love stumbling upon books that have received no hype or critical acclaim, but end up being great reading adventures while at the same time providing wonderful words of wisdom. This memoir is a perfect example of a book that deserves to be more widely read and appreciated than it apparently is, judging from the small number of people on Goodreads who have read it.

Eddy Gilmore's childhood was one of loneliness and despair, being raised in a squalid hoarder's house. He tells this sordid tale with great honesty, humility, and humor. At first I thought his no-nonsense, no-frills writing style was below par, but I soon grew to love his cheerfulness and whimsy as he told his tale of horror and sadness.

The first part of the book deals with his childhood and adolescence; the second part with his 9-month sabbatical from college at the age of 19, where he goes through a great awakening & spiritual rebirth. The travel parts of this section are highly entertaining and very comical as he describes his crazy adventures hiking and camping solo.

I was so inspired and uplifted by this wonderful book. I am thankful that the author had the opportunity and courage to share his life story with the reading world.
Profile Image for Rachelle Rahn.
2 reviews
November 17, 2018
A witty and poignant page turner that will take you through the home of a hoarder in such detail you'll find yourself checking for creepy crawlies on your skin, along with vivid descriptions of uninhabitated wilderness that will make you wish you could put the book down long enough to explore and experience a snow covered mountain, and a story that leaves you wishing to abandon society for an isolated cabin, all told with the authors humorous wit giving the reader a number of laugh out loud moments.
30 reviews1 follower
July 1, 2017
I just finished this book and loved it. I don't think I can adequately describe why, so I will refer you to a review by Alana Muir. She recommended it to me, and I found her comments to be right on. This book is especially meaningful to me as I am from the Duluth area, and am familiar with the region he spends a lot of time in.
Profile Image for John Jones.
5 reviews
November 23, 2015
It's hard to imagine writing a 'memoir' at the age of 19/20, and I would not completely agree that Eddy Gilmore has enough varied experience that he can pull it off, yet, but he certainly makes the argument. I did enjoy most of the parts about hiking and living in the wilderness (enhanced by own recent stay on the North Shore at the beginning of November, outside of the normal tourist season) but felt that the overall text could have been paired down. Some parts felt like they were needlessly reiterate too many times without adding any additional insight. I hope Gilmore continues to adventure and write. Hopefully it's not an insult to suggest this, but I would be very interested in reading about his general experiences in the North and specifically "travel advice" (for lack of better word). Not as dry as a trail guide, but a sort of general North Woods experience manual...
Profile Image for Marie Zhuikov.
Author 4 books16 followers
October 5, 2016
It took a lot of guts for the author to put himself out there with this memoir about growing up in a hoarding household and his subsequent journey into a more normal life with the help of religion and the outdoors. The time period flow doesn't always make sense and there are some grammar/spelling errors, but this is an important book to read for anyone who wants to understand the impacts of hoarding better and how to help its most innocent of victims -- the children of hoarders.
Profile Image for Holly.
497 reviews
July 9, 2015
Full review on my blog, Nut Free Nerd: http://nutfreenerd.com/2015/07/03/boo...

**I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, what a memoir! I read it in awe of what Eddy Gilmore suffered through as a child and the positive direction he took in his life as he grew up. Such an inspirational, eye-opening book!
Profile Image for Heidi Smith.
1 review33 followers
February 25, 2016
This is a book of courage, adventure and overcoming character through not only a tragic childhood but outdoor excursions against all odd as Eddy searched for a sense of grounding. A must read story about healing scars, solo travels and sacred friends!
Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews

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