Poignant account of an unexpectedly homeless man’s road to rebirth, accompanied by his trusty canine companion.
In a startling reversal of fortune, LeMieux lost an affluent lifestyle beneath the collapse of his publishing business and mountains of delinquent loans. His memoir begins with the author in line for food at the Salvation Army (“Sally’s”) in rural Washington on the day after Christmas 2002. For six months, LeMieux had been living in an old, dirty van with his faithful, ten-pound Bichon Frise, Willow. He’d had enough: Cold, hungry and desperately alone, he drove to a bridge and stood poised to jump, but his suicide attempt was thwarted by intuitive Willow, who barked and scratched from inside the van. Instead of taking his own life, LeMieux learned to rely on the kindness and generosity of strangers to help him live hand-to-mouth until his luck turned. Flashbacks tell the history of his former moneyed lifestyle, his mother’s death from cancer and various bittersweet family gatherings. Time spent in the safe haven of the public library, in church parking lots, on park benches, inside dumpsters and begging in front of upscale shops he’d patronized in better days, found the author in the company of some eccentric characters like “C,” who provided reliable friendship and sage wisdom on street life. After a few ill-conceived housing arrangements and a year and a half on the streets, LeMieux’s struggles finally began to ease with the help of a few compassionate and charitable churchgoers. Written on a discarded manual typewriter, his story is stirring. Never overbearing or self-absorbed, LeMieux is eternally grateful to everyone he came in contact with after having been “crushed by the rigors of life.” His feel-good chronicle will have readers counting their blessings as well.
Readable and thoroughly life-affirming.