From Publishers Weekly
"Sally's" is what the homeless call the Salvation Army's soup kitchen. LeMieux is a first-time author whose memoir chronicles his descent as a conservative publisher who loses his company, his home, his wife and kids, and all sense of hope, until he is called back from a potential suicide by the insistent barking of his beloved dog, Willow. Together, they embark on what is truly the "inspirational journey" of this book's title, living in an old van and moving from town to town. Using a beatup typewriter, LeMieux captures not only what day-to-day life is like for those whose lives have been broken by economic hardship ("from the millions of teenagers on the street to the millions of old heroes stored away in nursing homes across the country"), but also the rich inner life and the wellsprings of hope that he finds in the many people he skillfully and sensitively describes--"people are as real as you can find anywhere." And his own experiences with constant depression, the mental health system that exists for the homeless, and his discovery of life and a sense of hope in his new home of Bremerton, Wash., combine into a moving tale that cuts through the stereotypes of homeless living. (Nov.)
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*Starred Review* Not so very long ago, LeMieux was a successful businessman. He ran his own publishing company, lived in a house on the beach, drove a cool car, had a loving family. Then, suddenly, it was all gone: his business collapsed, his family left him, he was evicted from his home. He was nearly 60 years old, and he was homeless. This surprisingly uplifting and upbeat book chronicles his life as a man who lived on the streets. In fact, he began writing the book while he was homeless, banging out the manuscript on a salvaged typewriter, writing about his thoughts and emotions and the people he encountered (including the streetwise “C,” who exists in the book as LeMieux’s spiritual guide and sidekick). This really is a remarkable book, powerfully written, inspiring, heartbreakingly honest, and, somehow, frequently quite funny. It belongs side by side with Chris Gardner’s The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), Steve Lopez’s The Soloist (2008), and Alexander Masters’ Stuart: A Life Backwards (2006) as a must-read story of homelessness, determination, and redemption. --David Pitt
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