A dark, poignant, and emotionally brave coming-of-age memoir: the
story of a young man who, by handling the dead, makes peace with
"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
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
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