Official Review: Directions to the Dumpster

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Brendan Donaghy
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Latest Review: Directions to the Dumpster by Edward Campagnola

Official Review: Directions to the Dumpster

Post by Brendan Donaghy »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Directions to the Dumpster" by Edward Campagnola.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Directions to the Dumpster is an autobiographical account of 10 turbulent years in the life of author Edward Campagnola. It is a period that sees him go from being happily married and living in a blended family, to being homeless, separated from his children, and living on the streets of Sonoma County, California. In the telling of his story, the author shines a light on what it’s like to be homeless, and why it is that people find themselves in such a desperate situation.

The story opens in Sonoma County. Eddie, or Fast Eddie as he’s known, is living on the street and sleeping next to a dumpster. He earns a few dollars carrying a sign for a mattress store. The store provides Eddie with a refuge from the dangers out on the street. As Eddie puts it, “This is the Wild West and anything goes.” (Page 10) He is constantly at risk of being attacked or having his few possessions stolen. He deals with the stress of this by self-medicating with drugs. The bulk of the book describes how Eddie got to this point. It is a tale of tragedy, tempestuous relationships, bad luck, and bad decisions. It is Eddie’s view that often it is a lack of love and support from family members that provide an individual with the “directions to the dumpster.” (page 12) The same lack of support means that there’s often no easy way back from the dumpster once you’re there. One turns the pages of this book wondering if Eddie will get enough support to find his way home.

I liked that Eddie is honest with his story. He doesn’t try to sugar-coat the events that have brought him low. While he argues that he is more a victim of circumstances than the author of his own misfortune, he puts the details down on the page and allows readers to form their own judgment. I also liked that the book has just a tincture of the American road novel genre; aside from one actual road trip the author takes with his son, he drives across the country between New Jersey and California on more than one occasion. Finally, I enjoyed the author’s musical references. In times of crisis, Eddie turns to music for support, quoting song lyrics at some length; U2, Van Morrison, and John Lennon all get a mention. If the book ever gets made into a movie, the soundtrack has already been chosen by the author!

Eddie tells us in the book that he wrote the manuscript in a public library. It is a laudable achievement that someone living on the street, without the usual resources available to an author, was able to produce a book that tells such an interesting story. Given this situation, however, it is unsurprising that the book has not been professionally edited. The one aspect of it that I didn’t like is the high number of grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors that mar what is an otherwise excellent book.

I’m giving this book 3 out of 4 stars, deducting one star on account of the many errors. The book is written for adults, as it contains some salty language along with some quite explicit descriptions of sexual activity. I recommend it to readers who aren’t put off by that kind of writing and who enjoy uncompromising, real-life stories.

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Directions to the Dumpster
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Kanchan Sharma
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Post by Kanchan Sharma »

The review is interesting and intriguing. I am eager to read the book.
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Dzejn_Crvena
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Post by Dzejn_Crvena »

Wow, this is heartbreaking to read!
I cannot imagine how to live in the street and survive the cruel world outside my comfort zone.
It's a good thing the author managed to share his story with everyone, especially those who can relate to his struggles.
Thanks for the insightful review.
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Kavita Shah
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Post by Kavita Shah »

The story is life in it's true form. From a happy life and kids to homeless and separated from his kids. Thank you for a great review!
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Gargoylegarden
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Post by Gargoylegarden »

I hope Eddie's book sales bring redemption to Eddie.
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Post by karineyn »

Both the book and the review seem to have a simple but insightful tone to them. I am interested in the book. Thanks for the easy-to-follow review!
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Post by Cindy Dee »

Gargoylegarden wrote: 05 Jun 2021, 10:07 I hope Eddie's book sales bring redemption to Eddie.

Me too. I hope everyone reads this and realizes how privileged we truly are without even thinking twice on how lucky we are!
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Victor Kilyungi
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Post by Victor Kilyungi »

This is a well written review. I might just pick up Eddie's book and walk that journey with him on the pages. I love stories involving folks who conquer and this is definitely one of them. Grear work here.
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Laksha Maria Charbel
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Post by Laksha Maria Charbel »

Having read the review, I find the autobiography of Edward Campagnola very inspiring. Though I have never been homeless, I have faced a couple of turbulent years myself, and I can relate to Edward's struggle and concern for his safety and self-victimization. It is commendable that he has been honest in retelling his life events and having limited resources, bought his story to light. I believe the message he conveys compensates for the lack of professional editing. Many thanks for the beautiful review.
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Post by Fireside119 »

The title hints at the book's content, the author's misfortune, which left him homeless and living by a dumpster. With professional editing, the book could be elevated to a masterpiese.
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Post by Pluma »

This sounds like a unique and interesting book. I like the sound of Eddie’s honest tone, and I’m intrigued to find out more about his story. Thanks for the great review!
Kanchan Sharma
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Post by Kanchan Sharma »

The review is depicting so many twists and turns that I am really wishing to read the book.
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