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Land of the Lost Souls: My Life on the…

Land of the Lost Souls: My Life on the Streets (2009)

by Cadillac Man

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4822242,697 (3.6)4



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I was disappointed in this book. I expected a gritty tale, showing us the truth of what life is like for the homeless. I was hoping for an enlightened look at how average people find themselves on the street, and how difficult it is to find help once there. That is shown here to a small degree, but I found the story almost comically slanted throughout. Cadillac Man portrays himself as the superhero of the streets. When people give him money, he passes it on to the church or other people in need. He refuses to take food or handouts from store owners. Indeed, he watches out for and takes care of all the lost souls, while turning his back on his own daughter.

This leads me to the second reason I found this book impossible to like. Cadillac Man tells us quite honestly that he likes being on the streets. He loves the freedom. He loves not having to answer to a boss or a wife. He does what he wants, when he wants. His reasons for walking out on his family are shallow at best. He would have us believe he is altruistic, helping all his street friends and expecting nothing in return. Yet he leaves his young daughter without a father and without any financial help.

Sadly, I think this book reinforces some people's beliefs that the homeless are on the streets because they want to be. While that is true for some, and certainly it is for Cadillac Man, it is not true for most. This book is a hindrance to all the people who have lost their jobs and their homes, who have no family and nowhere to go, who can't get a job or state aid because they have no address. To me, Cadillac Man is simply a guy who ran from responsibility and is now being glamorized by his own self-indulged words. ( )
  Darcia | Aug 15, 2013 |
This is a valuable book because it is a credible (well, not in every little detail) account of life on the streets of New York by a homeless man. Cadillac Man not only writes about his life on the streets but also about how he got there. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
(originally posted at http://laze.net/fait/archive/2011/10/27/seen-heard-and-read-vol-1/ )

I recently finished this book I received through LibraryThing‘s Early Reviewers program. It’s pretty much what you’d expect from a tale of homelessness as told by one that lived through it: stories of violence, spiraling depression, and a healthy dose of quirky characters. Land of Lost Souls gives us a glance into the everyday lives of the people we pass on the street, often without a second thought.

Though the book’s chronology jumps all over the place, making it hard to get your bearings on your place within Cadillac Man’s life, the structure turns out not to be all that important. What is important are the individual stories, like the touching story of Penny, a 19-year-old runaway who Cadillac Man develops both a fatherly and sexual relationship with before helping to reconnect her with her family. That sounds creepy, but it’s more that it’s just how things go in that environment.


(Cadillac Man reads a selection from his book in this CSPAN video from a couple of years ago.) ( )
  laze | Nov 14, 2011 |
  CMILLER917 | Aug 5, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a touching story about a man who has lived on the streets of New York for a very long time. What I appreciated from reading it was how it gave me insight into what it is actually like for someone to be homeless for years, and how someone can survive on the streets. It is so easy to look the other way when it comes to homelessness, but the author showed the human side - the good and the bad. In some ways, life in the street isn't so completely different from our lives, is my concluding thought. There is struggle, triumph, joy, grief, and everything we go through as human beings. I feel appreciative to the author for sharing his life story with the world. ( )
  infogirl | Sep 16, 2010 |
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To my children

To Carol Vogel:
Never doubt my love for you
First words
I ain't no scholar. ( Introduction)
Sun's not even up yet, and there's a car radio blaring: I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used (how spelled not typo) to know
p51 - Looked at my watch and, dammit, I missed the church lunch by an hour. Even if I was to leave right now, by the time I get there everybody will be long gone, to their sleeping spots, maybe the local library. It's a good location to get out of the cold, just grab a large-size book, put your head down, and snooze. The staff won't bother you.
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Memoir of a man who became homeless at age 44. Describes his adventures and daily experiences that he recorded in a series of spiral notebooks over fourteen years. He writes about the "indelible characters" who share his New York City streets, including Penny, a young runaway whom he eventually reunites with her family.… (more)

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