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The Removers: A Memoir

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A dark, poignant, and emotionally brave coming-of-age memoir: the story of a young man who, by handling the dead, makes peace with the living. For almost twenty years I mistook my father's downfall as my own. But it wasn't. It was not my sister's either, nor my mother's. A literature professor at La Salle University, Andrew Meredith's father was fired after unspecified alleg A dark, poignant, and emotionally brave coming-of-age memoir: the story of a young man who, by handling the dead, makes peace with the living. For almost twenty years I mistook my father's downfall as my own. But it wasn't. It was not my sister's either, nor my mother's. A literature professor at La Salle University, Andrew Meredith's father was fired after unspecified allegations of sexual misconduct. It's a transgression Andrew cannot forgive, for it brought about long-lasting familial despair. In the wake of the scandal, Andrew's parents limp along, trapped in an unhappy marriage. Meanwhile, Andrew treads water, stuck in a kind of suspended adolescence - falling in and out of school, moving blindly from one half-hearted relationship to the next, slowly killing the nights drinking beer and listening to music with his childhood friends. Broke, Andrew moves back home to his childhood neighborhood in Northeast Philadelphia and takes a job alongside his father as a remover, the name for those unseen, unsung workers who take away the bodies of those who die at home. He describes, as only a professional can do, the intimate, horrific, poignant, and occasionally morbidly comedic aspects of handling the dead. Just how do you carry a 500-pound corpse down winding stairs? What actually happens to pacemakers, tooth fillings, surgical screws, artificial hips, and anything else that the deceased has within his or her body? Andrew begins to see his father not through the lens of a wronged and resentful child, but as a sympathetic, imperfect man who loves his family despite his flaws. Eventually the chip on his shoulder starts to lose its weight. Poetic without being florid, and with the literary ability to transform the naturally grotesque into the exquisite, The Removers is a searing story of a young man who finds in death a redemptive path toward the forgiveness of the living, including himself.


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A dark, poignant, and emotionally brave coming-of-age memoir: the story of a young man who, by handling the dead, makes peace with the living. For almost twenty years I mistook my father's downfall as my own. But it wasn't. It was not my sister's either, nor my mother's. A literature professor at La Salle University, Andrew Meredith's father was fired after unspecified alleg A dark, poignant, and emotionally brave coming-of-age memoir: the story of a young man who, by handling the dead, makes peace with the living. For almost twenty years I mistook my father's downfall as my own. But it wasn't. It was not my sister's either, nor my mother's. A literature professor at La Salle University, Andrew Meredith's father was fired after unspecified allegations of sexual misconduct. It's a transgression Andrew cannot forgive, for it brought about long-lasting familial despair. In the wake of the scandal, Andrew's parents limp along, trapped in an unhappy marriage. Meanwhile, Andrew treads water, stuck in a kind of suspended adolescence - falling in and out of school, moving blindly from one half-hearted relationship to the next, slowly killing the nights drinking beer and listening to music with his childhood friends. Broke, Andrew moves back home to his childhood neighborhood in Northeast Philadelphia and takes a job alongside his father as a remover, the name for those unseen, unsung workers who take away the bodies of those who die at home. He describes, as only a professional can do, the intimate, horrific, poignant, and occasionally morbidly comedic aspects of handling the dead. Just how do you carry a 500-pound corpse down winding stairs? What actually happens to pacemakers, tooth fillings, surgical screws, artificial hips, and anything else that the deceased has within his or her body? Andrew begins to see his father not through the lens of a wronged and resentful child, but as a sympathetic, imperfect man who loves his family despite his flaws. Eventually the chip on his shoulder starts to lose its weight. Poetic without being florid, and with the literary ability to transform the naturally grotesque into the exquisite, The Removers is a searing story of a young man who finds in death a redemptive path toward the forgiveness of the living, including himself.

30 review for The Removers: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    In a lively debut memoir, the author recalls first joining his father as a corpse remover and later working at a crematory. The Philadelphia setting and wry voice remind me of the work of Kevin Morris (White Man’s Problems) or Matthew Quick (The Good Luck of Right Now). Meredith’s was a very matter-of-fact response to life-and-death dramas; although he gives all the gory details (of moving a 500-pound woman, of cracking skulls and scooping out brains), nothing is overly sensationalized. His metap In a lively debut memoir, the author recalls first joining his father as a corpse remover and later working at a crematory. The Philadelphia setting and wry voice remind me of the work of Kevin Morris (White Man’s Problems) or Matthew Quick (The Good Luck of Right Now). Meredith’s was a very matter-of-fact response to life-and-death dramas; although he gives all the gory details (of moving a 500-pound woman, of cracking skulls and scooping out brains), nothing is overly sensationalized. His metaphors are inventive, as in “A biology-class skeleton on its back in a pizza oven, this was my first impression of a corpse in flames.” A description of himself at age 17 echoes that same apposite language of flesh and bones: “somehow gangly and pudgy at the same time, like a skeleton smuggling kielbasa under his sweater.” The funeral business is something that just happened to Meredith, rather than him choosing it. For the longest time everything in his life seemed to be fated. He and his Philly peers seemed just to fall into local activities and patterns, never venturing beyond the familiar: “This is the way we knew: you settle where you grew up, with someone you grew up with...We were taught to be provincial, to trust the institutions and the places we came up in...This was ingrained, the kind of life you left at your own peril.” That explains why Meredith went to the very college his dad was fired from: like Stoner, his English professor father had an inappropriate emotional relationship, this time with a student – it wasn’t even sexual, but the college basically blackmailed him into resigning by encouraging other female students to bring sexual harassment charges. “What I didn’t know, or what scared me too much to consider,” Meredith writes, “was that the thing I feared — picking one thing to be — could be the thing that saved me.” Deciding not just to drift into peculiarly death-based professions (“The dead are becoming the most vivid people in my life,” he recalls of one time) but to set out on his own path as a writer was a turning point. I didn’t always appreciate the narrative shifts (from first- to second-person, and past to present tense), but they are understated enough that you might not even notice them. Meredith blends his layers of flashback – the removal and crematory jobs were in his twenties, and his father’s dismissal came when he was 14 and colored the rest of his teens, as his parents settled into the embarrassed silence that would pass for a marriage for another decade – very subtly. For me, a passage from one of the last chapters is both a great summing up of this memoir and a profound comment on how family dysfunction shapes us but doesn’t have to destroy us: “there is nothing special in the traumas that form us...We cherish the particulars of our past, these events that cause our pain, but the liberation comes when we start to see how every living person has gone through something that has changed him or her, and that becoming an adult is based in response.” After such a strong first book, I think Meredith seems destined for success. Something tells me he’d write great fiction, too. Related read: The Undertaking by Thomas Lynch (I’m also highly tempted by Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emily Goenner

    I really wanted more stories about removing bodies, which was my interest in picking up this book. Its a fine memoir about a young man's "coming of age," finding himself and working through issues with his father, but that topic doesn't interest me much and I didn't connect with it at all. So, a good book for the right person, which I wasn't.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rita Ciresi

    One of the best accounts I've ever read about growing up in a working-class neighborhood and fearing you will never escape. It also is a very realistic and moving account of the author's deep depression. Andrew Meredith began removing bodies at an early age--as an assistant to his father--and as one of his friends points out, the job was bound to mess him up. This exploration of the author's childhood and his inability to escape his father's plight saddened me, but I couldn't stop reading it nor One of the best accounts I've ever read about growing up in a working-class neighborhood and fearing you will never escape. It also is a very realistic and moving account of the author's deep depression. Andrew Meredith began removing bodies at an early age--as an assistant to his father--and as one of his friends points out, the job was bound to mess him up. This exploration of the author's childhood and his inability to escape his father's plight saddened me, but I couldn't stop reading it nor could I stop thinking about it for days afterward. I can't recommend this memoir highly enough.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karyl

    Be forewarned: If you are expecting this book to be a memoir about working in the death/funeral industry, please put it back on the shelf. I'd recommend instead The Undertaker's Daughter by Kate Mayfield, a memoir detailing Mayfield's childhood growing up in a funeral home in a small town. The Removers is much more a coming of age story. Andrew's family had been happy throughout much of his childhood, his father as a professor at a local college, his mother as a secretary. And then when he was 1 Be forewarned: If you are expecting this book to be a memoir about working in the death/funeral industry, please put it back on the shelf. I'd recommend instead The Undertaker's Daughter by Kate Mayfield, a memoir detailing Mayfield's childhood growing up in a funeral home in a small town. The Removers is much more a coming of age story. Andrew's family had been happy throughout much of his childhood, his father as a professor at a local college, his mother as a secretary. And then when he was 14, his father came to the family to tell him he'd been fired, and it wasn't until much later than it came out that he had had a relationship with a student, and the college had convinced other female students to back up the allegations. It was then that everything fell apart for the Meredith family, and set Andrew on a path of not being able to grow up or move on. I have to say, without intending to be judgmental, that this is what I had such a difficult issue with. I understand that this situation had killed off any relationship between his father and his mother, but I don't understand staying together in such a loveless and silent marriage. I know divorce wasn't quite as common as it is now, but my parents split up in 1981, which I am infinitely grateful for as it wasn't a good match. I don't really comprehend Meredith's inability to move forward, or his penchant for self-sabotage. I too grew up in a difficult situation but it propelled me to get the hell out of Dodge, not wallow around in misery. Someone who is from Philadelphia would probably enjoy this book for nothing more than all its references to the local culture and landmarks. Meredith definitely has a talent for writing, and if he chooses to write a novel, I'd be very interested in reading it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I really expected to like this book. I've been on a kick of reading books where the mother dies, books about the death industry, etc. etc. I found the main character a little too unlikable, and not necessarily reverent about death. I understand that corpses can be messy, unusual, etc. but a little respect please? (I am glad he finished his degree and is writing, however). I'd give this one a miss...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This Memoir is was amazingly interesting and really easy to relate too. A lot of people have unhappy parents and dark secrets, but family is family. I have always found myself thinking about what it would be like working with death everyday like they do in this book and that kept me reading, but I found myself wanting to know his story. Full Review on my blog. Thanks NetGalley.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Vinod Peris

    Andrew has bravely written a memoir that is both engaging and honest. One that highlights, but does not dwell on, the dysfunction that pervades many an American family. At the surface this looks like a book that is about the funeral business. But very quickly you will realize that it is a lot deeper and darker than that. After Andrew’s father loses his teaching job, his mother and father barely speak to each other. His father gets a job in the funeral business and Andrew follows in his footsteps Andrew has bravely written a memoir that is both engaging and honest. One that highlights, but does not dwell on, the dysfunction that pervades many an American family. At the surface this looks like a book that is about the funeral business. But very quickly you will realize that it is a lot deeper and darker than that. After Andrew’s father loses his teaching job, his mother and father barely speak to each other. His father gets a job in the funeral business and Andrew follows in his footsteps. What follows are Andrew’s musings on the job and his childhood. This quote from Andrew eloquently sums up the book, "The disengagement that settled on my house when I was a teenager had somehow inured me to the corporal miseries of the funeral business”. Andrew writes in a flowing style that is very easy to read. You get a peek into an American home that may seem dysfunctional, but evidently has raised a balanced mind and a great author.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Patty Falconer

    People often describe books they like as "page turners" because the plot is so interesting that they are compelled to keep reading to find out what happens next. Obviously, this page turning happens in a forward progression. When I really like a book, my page turning goes backwards. The language and writing in The Removers was so rich and poetic for me that I wanted to go back and read passages again - sometimes to clarify and sometimes to savor. Meredith's brutally honest writing gives the read People often describe books they like as "page turners" because the plot is so interesting that they are compelled to keep reading to find out what happens next. Obviously, this page turning happens in a forward progression. When I really like a book, my page turning goes backwards. The language and writing in The Removers was so rich and poetic for me that I wanted to go back and read passages again - sometimes to clarify and sometimes to savor. Meredith's brutally honest writing gives the reader a glimpse into the workings of one type of dysfunctional family, the harsh realities of life in a Philadelphia neighborhood, and the inner workings of a crematorium. Mostly, it is the story of how all these factors influence the man he becomes. Admittedly, I am a memoir junkie and The Removers is one of the best I have read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca McPhedran

    Andrew Meredith seems to be reliving a part of his past. A time when his father lost his job, and he, his mother and sister lost their foundation. Throughout the book Meredith flashes backwards on his time as a child coming to grips with his fathers actions, and their consequences on his relationships. He then moves forward, to his time as an adult, employed as a remover of dead bodies, and his work in a crematorium. All very interesting stuff, but I felt the entire book could be summed up in on Andrew Meredith seems to be reliving a part of his past. A time when his father lost his job, and he, his mother and sister lost their foundation. Throughout the book Meredith flashes backwards on his time as a child coming to grips with his fathers actions, and their consequences on his relationships. He then moves forward, to his time as an adult, employed as a remover of dead bodies, and his work in a crematorium. All very interesting stuff, but I felt the entire book could be summed up in one idea he had towards the end. He said, everyone has things happen to them, those things could be better or worse than things that happen to others. The thing that makes us different, is the way we react to those things. Our reactions are what make us, us. An interesting thought, no?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    This is a memoir about how the consequences of one decision can affect the lives of many. When Andrew Meredith was a teenager, his father was fired from his job teaching for vague, mysterious reasons. Andrew's parents remain together in a loveless void of a marriage and his father ultimately finds a new job removing bodies of the dead from their homes or hospitals and transporting them to the funeral home. Andrew ultimately follows his father's path into the funeral industry and writes about it This is a memoir about how the consequences of one decision can affect the lives of many. When Andrew Meredith was a teenager, his father was fired from his job teaching for vague, mysterious reasons. Andrew's parents remain together in a loveless void of a marriage and his father ultimately finds a new job removing bodies of the dead from their homes or hospitals and transporting them to the funeral home. Andrew ultimately follows his father's path into the funeral industry and writes about it here along with his life before (but mostly after) his father's admission, his relationships and the decisions he makes along the way to becoming a responsible adult. An interesting book, but it dwelt a little too long on various Philadelphia landmarks and regional favorites for my tastes.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Kennedy

    I just finished reading this book for a second time. It s absolutely fucking BRILLIANT. I rarely read a book for a second time but when I do, you know its because of LOVE. I recommend this book to anyone who loves quirkiness and tenderness coupled with absolute honesty. Such a great writer, very elegant. I keep waiting for him to produce something else but so far, no word. I LOVE this book. Hard to explain all the great parts, you should read it yourself and see what I mean...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jay C

    Somewhat ghastly subject matter at times (MC works for a crematorium) but a solid narration by an imperfect character trying to figure out what comprises one’s transition into “adulthood”, whatever THAT is.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Gritty and warm at the same time - loved it! Hope he writes another book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Siao

    Not particularly outstanding, but...meh. Haven't had much luck with picking great reads lately.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dallas Mcmaugh

    I wish I could remember who wrote the review that compelled me to buy this - and it was hard to find - because I certainly wouldn’t follow their recommendations ever again. I hated it for more reasons than I can list here although the clumsily written sex would top the list. Can’t think of one sentence that would compel me to give it a star.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Lord

    A memoir by a dude whose work is to remove the bodies of people who die at home might sound bleak, and at times this is darkly psychological. Alternately, it’s also funny and jaw-gapingly absurd. What’s not to like? After teenage Meredith’s parents’ marriage breaks up, the couple remains together in a loveless, dormant household; the paternal affect on Meredith is tremendous. “I would have followed him anywhere,” he writes. “He was my hero and the man who had killed my mother emotionally. He was A memoir by a dude whose work is to remove the bodies of people who die at home might sound bleak, and at times this is darkly psychological. Alternately, it’s also funny and jaw-gapingly absurd. What’s not to like? After teenage Meredith’s parents’ marriage breaks up, the couple remains together in a loveless, dormant household; the paternal affect on Meredith is tremendous. “I would have followed him anywhere,” he writes. “He was my hero and the man who had killed my mother emotionally. He was the screen onto which all of my love and dread were projected.” After dropping out of the same college where his dad taught, Meredith takes the remover job—alongside his dad. Sometimes because of the job, sometimes in spite of it, he grows and learns acceptance. “The remover affects a normal life,” he writes, “then he goes and puts on his black suit and in a half an hour he’s pulling your dead ass out of bed with his knees, not his back.” Years, and some hair-raising episodes (e.g., “Carl’s stink screams an urgent and violent disharmony”) pass. Progress comes through working with families, where Meredith finds his “salvation” by “helping them through a few of the worst days of their lives.” He blossoms into a kind of “concierge of grief”; this, and his father’s remarriage, help him cross a divide. VERDICT While fearless at giving readers their fair share of “[t]he rank smells of shit and purged bile and rotting flesh that came with this job…,” Meredith manages to convey the importance and universality of his maturation. Ultimately, the unstintingly honest examination of life—and death—is redemptive and uplifting. Find this review and others at Books for Dudes, Books for Dudes, the online reader's advisory column for men from Library Journal. Copyright Library Journal

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amie

    This is a deeply thought-provoking, well-written Memoir about a young man's childhood and family. Torn apart by his father's dismissal from La Salle University in 1990 and his family's overwhelming silence, Andrew finds himself lost in depression. His solace is his music and his unbreakable bond with his father. I felt like Andrew yearned to be close to both of his parents, but he was not sure how to break through the remnants of a broken marriage. His mom seemed to have an impenetrable, Catholi This is a deeply thought-provoking, well-written Memoir about a young man's childhood and family. Torn apart by his father's dismissal from La Salle University in 1990 and his family's overwhelming silence, Andrew finds himself lost in depression. His solace is his music and his unbreakable bond with his father. I felt like Andrew yearned to be close to both of his parents, but he was not sure how to break through the remnants of a broken marriage. His mom seemed to have an impenetrable, Catholic wall around her; dad seemed to have his own complex, puzzling story. Having a chance to work closely with his father as a "remover" gave Andrew some much needed time with his father, a passionate man and talented poet. Being that close to the finality of death somehow shed light on this young man's own existence. This book was beautifully written, and I would recommend this to anyone who understands how a broken marriage and silent home can deeply affect a child. Please do not be fooled by the title. I found the "removal" parts of the bodies secondary to the intense emotion of this book. Andrew transforms from a little boy laughing with his father to a teenager in the middle of a sad, silent marriage.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    Like others have written in their reviews, The Removers is the story of a young man who works in the funeral and crematory service but it is also a coming of age story. When the father is fired from his job, the entire family falls apart. I loved the author's sharp wit and reading about the his experiences in the funeral industry. I had a hard time sticking with the book in the first half. The story kind of drags on as Andrew continues to flub up his life. I'm just waiting for the moment when he Like others have written in their reviews, The Removers is the story of a young man who works in the funeral and crematory service but it is also a coming of age story. When the father is fired from his job, the entire family falls apart. I loved the author's sharp wit and reading about the his experiences in the funeral industry. I had a hard time sticking with the book in the first half. The story kind of drags on as Andrew continues to flub up his life. I'm just waiting for the moment when he will pull it together. He does eventually graduate college and write this book but there is little more known about how he was transformed from his experience. The reader doesn't ever really get the answers sought. We just find the narrator growing up and accepting what happened. Did anyone learn from the situation? Did anyone change? Are we to feel good about this family that was stuck in time for 15 or so years or do we regret that they were stuck but applaud them for finally figuring out how to deal with the circumstances? The author is an excellent writer, I just felt like the story lacked in its conclusion. I wanted more in the end.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    Visit My Book Self for more reviews & giveaways Interesting read, taking me by surprise, certainly wasn't what I was expecting. This was a coming of age story, exploring the bruises left behind of a dysfunctional family. The funeral industry was part of the narrative but not a large portion, enough to provide a glimpse into body removal, cremation. Meredith has a way with words, his writing is poetically mesmerizing. He's very open and candid into the turmoil existing within his family as well Visit My Book Self for more reviews & giveaways Interesting read, taking me by surprise, certainly wasn't what I was expecting. This was a coming of age story, exploring the bruises left behind of a dysfunctional family. The funeral industry was part of the narrative but not a large portion, enough to provide a glimpse into body removal, cremation. Meredith has a way with words, his writing is poetically mesmerizing. He's very open and candid into the turmoil existing within his family as well as bearing his own emotions and stumbles as a result of his family mess during his formative years to adulthood. As much as I enjoy Meredith's writing, his veering from one topic to the next jamming the mismatched topics together randomly was frustrating. One moment you would be reading of the cremation oven and immediately read of his father's indiscretion, this zig zag pattern continuing throughout the narrative. Distracting and disruptive. Candid memoir from a very gifted writer. I look forward to reading more from this talented writing. His lyrical writing alone makes this worth perusing.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    A fascinating look at a broken family and broken lives in a broken part of the city of Philadelphia -- and despite all that, it wasn't really depressing. Even the discussion of death and the graphic discussion of the cremation process wasn't off-putting, I think because of the philosophical "intellectual curiosity" tone the author had throughout the book. I can see why, if this is his approach to his entire life (as he implies in the book) it has a detrimental effect on his romantic relationship A fascinating look at a broken family and broken lives in a broken part of the city of Philadelphia -- and despite all that, it wasn't really depressing. Even the discussion of death and the graphic discussion of the cremation process wasn't off-putting, I think because of the philosophical "intellectual curiosity" tone the author had throughout the book. I can see why, if this is his approach to his entire life (as he implies in the book) it has a detrimental effect on his romantic relationships. The intermingling of dead people, the business of handling the dead, and the story of his growing up years and handling the dead thing that was his parents' marriage and family life worked well, and the book manages to straddle the parallel themes well. There were some graphic sexual moments in the book and quite a bit of crude language, but somehow the author's tone made them less annoying to me than they otherwise might have been.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    I had hoped to like this book - I really didn't though. I was curious about learning of an occupation that I had never thought about. Instead it was a memoir of a very unhappy young man. A small portion of the book was about the actual "removing" and some of that was a bit too graphic. A part was about the time the author spent working in a crematorium. The descriptions of his work there will make the hair on your arms stand up. There are many positive reviews for the book so maybe I am among th I had hoped to like this book - I really didn't though. I was curious about learning of an occupation that I had never thought about. Instead it was a memoir of a very unhappy young man. A small portion of the book was about the actual "removing" and some of that was a bit too graphic. A part was about the time the author spent working in a crematorium. The descriptions of his work there will make the hair on your arms stand up. There are many positive reviews for the book so maybe I am among the minority, but I just didn't enjoy reading it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    I wanted to give this book one to two stars; but I realized that was only due to my disappointment in it not being what I wanted it to be. I have been anticipating the release of this book and couldn't wait to read all about the morbid, sordid details of the body removal industry. Alas, this memoir is way less about that and more a coming of age story of a young man from a dysfunctional family. In that, it was ok; no need to punish the book for not being what I had hoped for.... but I am sulking.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    While I do feel bad for the author's intimacy challenges, I was more interested in his vocation as a remover than his many meaningless sexual encounters. I wish him well in overcoming the trauma of his parent's failed marriage.

  24. 5 out of 5

    C

    A beautiful lyric memoir about what it means to have a body, both in life & death.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    I stumbled upon this book while looking for book ideas on Pinterest. The cover reminded me of the show, “Six Feet Under”, and peaked my interest. After reading the description, I realized that I had several connections to this book. First being that, like the author, I grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and we are about the same age. Second, the story of his father, the college English professor who wrote poetry and picked up dead bodies, I quickly realized, had been one of my favorite college pr I stumbled upon this book while looking for book ideas on Pinterest. The cover reminded me of the show, “Six Feet Under”, and peaked my interest. After reading the description, I realized that I had several connections to this book. First being that, like the author, I grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and we are about the same age. Second, the story of his father, the college English professor who wrote poetry and picked up dead bodies, I quickly realized, had been one of my favorite college professors (not at LaSalle). I devoured this book in two days. Like his father, the author has an amazing gift with words. Beyond the personal connections, I loved the way the author shared his story by alternating between past and present. His memories and descriptions of his changing neighborhood, mirrored that of the painful changes within his own family. I deeply felt the author’s nostalgia for the way things used to be, and his longing for something more. There were sentences and passages within this book that I read several times over because they were so eloquently written. I hope that the author plans on publishing more of his work, no matter what the topic may be.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tamara The Reader

    This book was excellent. I loved how the author so masterfully wove back and forth between his currently life and his young self. I enjoy reading memoirs written by men. Typically it takes a lot for a man to be vulnerable, to share his foibles with the world but it's always so refreshing when they do. This book is about a young man living in Philadelphia who worked, along with his dad removing the remains of the deceased. The life of his family was forever changed by a scandal that his father was This book was excellent. I loved how the author so masterfully wove back and forth between his currently life and his young self. I enjoy reading memoirs written by men. Typically it takes a lot for a man to be vulnerable, to share his foibles with the world but it's always so refreshing when they do. This book is about a young man living in Philadelphia who worked, along with his dad removing the remains of the deceased. The life of his family was forever changed by a scandal that his father was involved in while employed as a Professor at an area college. The sexual harassment case affected the livelihood of the family causing some economic hardships and eventually the dissolution of his parent's marriage. I expected The Removers to be a book filled with amusing anecdotes about work in the funeral industry. I never expected to be able to relate to the protagonists' life. The author spent several years going around in circles trying to find his place in life. It was the sort of thing that happens to many of us when we are blindsided by family stressors.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lynda

    Just OK. I really wanted more about his job, and the removal of dead bodies, and the reactions of the family members he came into contact with, and doing that kind of work with his dad, and how that colored their relationship. (I didn't like any of the other co-workers that he interacted with, or his experiences working at the crematorium.) The autobiographical parts, I thought, were really dull, I didn't really care about either of his parents or their relationship. I kept wanting to tell them Just OK. I really wanted more about his job, and the removal of dead bodies, and the reactions of the family members he came into contact with, and doing that kind of work with his dad, and how that colored their relationship. (I didn't like any of the other co-workers that he interacted with, or his experiences working at the crematorium.) The autobiographical parts, I thought, were really dull, I didn't really care about either of his parents or their relationship. I kept wanting to tell them to fish or cut bait, clearly the way they were living didn't work for either of them, and it's not like they were unselfishly staying together for the kids, they actually made their children's lives worse.

  28. 5 out of 5

    SandyL

    What can I say about this book? First of all, it felt like a story that someone cut up into pieces and then pieced back together in no particular order. The story jumped around from different time periods and was very disjointed. Basically, the author is recounting his childhood and young adulthood along with the job he falls into as a body remover and cremator. I guess if you want to feel better about your own life and f*ck-ups, then this book might help you feel not so alone? The only thing I What can I say about this book? First of all, it felt like a story that someone cut up into pieces and then pieced back together in no particular order. The story jumped around from different time periods and was very disjointed. Basically, the author is recounting his childhood and young adulthood along with the job he falls into as a body remover and cremator. I guess if you want to feel better about your own life and f*ck-ups, then this book might help you feel not so alone? The only thing I can say is kudos to the author for being so forthcoming about himself because it certainly wasn't an attractive portrayal.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    Insightful and honest. Reading this book is like watching the author grow up. His being young & male did not keep this sixty-something female from learning and growing with him. His story reminds me of my twenty-something grandson who is taking a rather long and circuitous route to adulthood. I have recommended that he read this book. I hope he does. The last paragraph on page 171 sums it all up in my opinion. If everyone who is carrying around old grudges against their parents and/or the bl Insightful and honest. Reading this book is like watching the author grow up. His being young & male did not keep this sixty-something female from learning and growing with him. His story reminds me of my twenty-something grandson who is taking a rather long and circuitous route to adulthood. I have recommended that he read this book. I hope he does. The last paragraph on page 171 sums it all up in my opinion. If everyone who is carrying around old grudges against their parents and/or the blows dealt them by life would read and understand the summation of what Meredith discovered in his "late approach to growing up," there would be fewer dysfunctional families.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amy Freeman

    This is NOT a story about removing and taking care of bodies. It's included, sure, but don't be drawn in by the shock value. This is a short memoir that reminds us that our families aren't that bad. That we all have our secrets and our not-so-secrets. It's a reminder of the value of familial relationships and the necessity of body removal. I liked this book, but I didn't like the writing style. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick read that won't give them a book hangover. I This is NOT a story about removing and taking care of bodies. It's included, sure, but don't be drawn in by the shock value. This is a short memoir that reminds us that our families aren't that bad. That we all have our secrets and our not-so-secrets. It's a reminder of the value of familial relationships and the necessity of body removal. I liked this book, but I didn't like the writing style. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick read that won't give them a book hangover. It's a good palate cleanser between more involved reads.

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