~ Subtitled - One Homeless Man's Inspirational Journey ~
Richard LeMieux had it all. He had been a successful sportswriter and owned a small publishing company. He had raised three children and travelled extensively with his partner of seventeen years. He lived the 'good life', eating out, spending lots on material goods. Until the bottom fell out - his business failed, his partner left and his adult children and former friends wanted nothing more to do with him. On Christmas Day 2002, despondent and suffering from severe depression, LeMieux attempted suicide. Thankfully he was unsuccessful.
For the next year and a half, he lives with his faithful companion Willow (the Wonder Dog) in his van. Taking many of his meals at the Salvation Army, (hence the title) we meet many of the other homeless and working poor that populate the city of Bremerton, Washington.
Drawing on his writing background and a donated typewriter, LeMieux begins to write a book about his journey. Families living in church parking lots in their cars, camps of young people living peacefully on the outskirts of town, the mentally ill, the addicted. But it is the caring and compassion shown by these downtrodden to each other that strikes such a chord with me. In particular a man only identified as C, who is so responsive to the needs of those in his neighbourhood. There are many, many other stories within this book.
With the economy the way it is, I am sure there will be many more people forced into situations that they would never have forseen or imagined. I am always inspired by memoirs such as Breakfast at Sally's. Not just by the authors, but those who choose to make a difference.