New York City Bum

Non-Fiction - Memoir
516 Pages
Reviewed on 09/02/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite

New York City Bum by David Boglioli is a memoir in which David talks about his life living on the streets of New York as a so-called homeless person. In the book, David talks briefly at the beginning about his pre-homeless life where he worked multiple jobs, the last one being at a hotel in a managerial position, lived in a plush apartment, and also about his early life a bit and his later experiences with family, siblings, etc. He soon gets into drugs and that’s the start of his journey towards eventual homelessness. David describes the gradual way in which it happened, how he was fired from his job, how he sold most of his belongings and was evicted before deciding to chuck everything and live on the streets of New York City.

I liked reading New York City Bum and could empathize with a lot of what David has described in terms of feeling dejected and almost claustrophobic at the idea of working a “regular” job, while conforming to society’s expectations of what constitutes a “normal life.” I also liked reading about his firsthand experiences of living in the heart of Manhattan and New York city, its boroughs and little known secrets known only to the locals or natives, his jobs at various fast food places and delis, New York slang, and the people he met and knew on the streets that were addicts, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, criminals and thieves, and how they are shaped in turn by their early experiences in life that are often abusive or neglectful.

While I didn’t necessarily agree with much of David’s commentary on the root causes of these societal problems, I still felt that, in terms of candid storytelling, this is an interesting and eye-opening memoir. This well-written memoir provides a revealing and illuminating glimpse into the shadow world of so-called bums or homeless people, although technically a lot of them are not exactly without shelter or employment. A thought-provoking read that will appeal to those who enjoy memoirs and stories with social issues at their heart.