PDF Down to This: Squalor and Splendour in a Big-City ✓ construyamos.co

For some young men climbing Everest or sailing solo into polar seas isn’t the biggest risk in the world Instead it is venturing alone into the deepest urban jungle where human nature is the dangerous incomprehensible and sometimes wildly uplifting force that tests not only your ability to survive but also your own humanityOne cold November day Shaughnessy Bishop Stall heads out on just such a uest He packs up a new tent some clothes his notebooks and a pen and goes to live in Tent City twenty seven lawless acres where the largest hobo town on the continent suats in the scandalized shadow of Canada’s largest city The rules he sets for himself are simple no access to money family or friends except what he can find from that day on He’ll do whatever people in Tent City do to get by be whatever bum wino beggar hustler criminal junkie or con man he chooses to be on any given dayWhen he arrives he finds a dump full of the castaways of the last millennium human and otherwise On the edge of the world yet somehow smack in the middle of it all fugitives drug addicts prostitutes dealers and ex cons have created an anarchic society where the rules are made up nightly and your life depends on knowing them Not only does Bishop Stall manage to survive until the bulldozers come but against all odds his own heart and spirit slowly mend An astonishing account of birth suicide brawls binges tears crazed laughter good and bad intentions fiendish charity and the sudden elouence and generosity of broken souls Down to This is Bishop Stall’s iridescent love song to a lost city like no other From the Hardcover edition


10 thoughts on “Down to This: Squalor and Splendour in a Big-City Shantytown

  1. says:

    Down To This has become one of my all time favourite books I thought it was well written it was raw it was honest and it was eye opening Maybe it’s because I know Toronto inside out or I thought I did till I read this book I know every city has it’s homeless population and community but I was unaware of the severity or just to blind to see it Tent City Toronto was located right on the water front; it was a place many called home for years They had built their own sense of community where they felt safe It was safer than the shelters and they had people they could rely on; each other Tent City was well known to organizations and Universities from surrounding areas would stop by regularly to drop off blankets and food The people living at Tent City were just that people Human beings who’s stories differ who laugh who cry who worry who are depressed anxious scared intoxicated sick Unfortunately they were living on land that was not theirs which has been used to justify the rough manner in which they were evicted If you have no where to live little money addictions its not easy to just lose what little you have left and have no time to move Prior to the evictions of Tent City Shaughnessy Bishop Stall packed his belongings; his life in a bag along with a broken heart and sets out to spend a year in Tent City He ends up finding a community like no other A variety of people from all walks of life; addicts alcoholics prostitutes thieves heroes This book was at times sad and other times happy and inspiring Bishop Stall does a good job bringing Tent City to life and I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone


  2. says:

    Now this is a memoir that will stay with me for awhile I don't remember much of Tent City I just remember reading things in the Sun I'm not sure I was living in Toronto when it was shut down I may have been If I was I was side tracked and mesmerized by F Face He really turned me into a not very nice person who didn't give a shit about anyone else Maybe I would have fit in well in Tent City back then Except for the drugs Maybe I would have just been an alcoholic These guys are scary Very real and very frightening Having a Tent City dweller as a friend would have been difficult One accidental cut eye and you could say goodbye to any number if things your life your pretty face as it got beat up and any number of belongings Part of me admires Shaun and part of me thinks he was a total idiot for giving it all up It's definitely not a life for me I like my running water and in stolen Hydro I like my bottled water and my car I love my husband and my fur babies Reading this book makes me appreciate even every little thing I own And I've never been much for material objects


  3. says:

    I don't know if this was really a 4 star book The writing style wasn't the best although since it was a diary style book it's not really the author's fault that the book was choppyHowever I found myself fascinated with this book on many levels First of all I could not imaging myself moving somewhere like tent city to write a book Although the author painted the picture of a community the amount of violence amongst the community members was incredible It was also really interesting yet sad to get a glimpse into how homeless people live and what motivates them Reading about the cycle of drugs booze and poverty was uite depressing yet the book managed to maintain a hopeful attitude


  4. says:

    I really wanted to like this but it was very much a recount and 'we did this and went here and they fought' I found it all a bit repetitive and slow


  5. says:

    I greatly enjoyed reading about Shaughnessy Bishop Stall's experience living in the former Tent City of Toronto Attempting to escape his own demons Bishop Stall provides an eye opening narrative of the violence love camaraderie and banality of living as a 'homeless person' I was impressed with how he dives right into the camp without knowing anyone yet manages to survive and eventually thrive The first couple months are some of the most engaging of the entire book as he navigates the different social cliues and builds his own shack He meets and generally befriends an electric cast of characters most suffering from different levels of substance abuse crack being the most predominant Almost everyone has experienced different degrees of abuse that led them on a downward spiral which eventually resulted in their arrival at Tent City It is truly saddening to know that the most common trauma is childhood sexual abuseThroughout the book I appreciated Bishop Stalls focus on the day to day events of living Often it involves drinking a lot of liuor He provides scant details on his own background which allows the reader to focus directly on his experiences in Tent City For good or bad I was never able to develop a great deal of sympathy for many of the residents for many their demons have almost completely consumed them The book concludes with the rapid destruction of the camp and the relocation of its numerous citizens The outlook appears bright for some but others have already fallen back into the abyss I continue to struggle with the bleak existence of the homeless population and the limited options available to provide life changing solutions Those suffering reuire a comprehensive drug housing and education plan to ever regain their footing Sadly that appears less and less of a possibility even in a nation such as Canada Regardless I commend Bishop Stall for his immersive journalism


  6. says:

    I reserved this book at the public library largely because I was curious about Tent City and it was mentioned on the wikipedia page I didn't have much hope for itI was fully prepared for it to be one of this twee stunt journalism kinds of books I was prepared for it to boil down to homeless peopleAREN'T THEY WHACKY?? The fact that it was described as being a personal adventure kind of book akin to trying to scale Everest solo A uest with rules such as no access to money suggesting to me that for the author he was having a grand lark surrounded by those whacky whacky homeless So I didn't have a lot of hopeI might even have been gearing up for a book I was going to really look down on That isn't what I got Yes Shaugnessy Bishop Stall went and lived in Tent City for the best part of a year Yes he wrote a book about it But if he did it as some kind of rich kid on a lark uest he conceals it damn well In his narration he comes across as damaged flawed and frankly kind of fucked up He panhandles because he needs money he builds a shanty because he needs shelter and he learns pretty uickly that Tent City is a misnomer He drinks way too much and he doesn't come across as being there as an observer but rather as part of the community Speaking of the communitythey are human And I know that doesn't sound extraordinary but it is so easy to overlook marginal communities Panhandlers homeless peoplethey can become part of the landscape Overlooked or ignored But not in this book Bishop Stall makes friends he forms relationships some of them pretty close almost familial He makes enemies And at no time does gloss over their flaws or focus purely on them Reading this has definitely changed my perspective on homelessness so even if it weren't a very well written and engaging book it would be worthwhile just for that If this sort of subject matter interests you or you are curious about the kind of community that forms in a tent city then I can't recommend this enough


  7. says:

    I have never read something that was so influential to me before Bishop Stall's diary during his year living in Tent City has given me to think about than most works that I've picked up From how to treat the homeless to finding an ethical solution to the drug epidemic to simply finding one's own way through the clutter of modern lifeShaun sets out like a destitute Thoreau setting up camp among the sualor of Toronto Through the course of the book we learn to care for not only his safety but the lives around him as well I realize that we can't all just be Tom Cruises any the same way that they can't all be Homeless DavesOne of the most powerful sections invovles a member of Tent City that Shaun did not focus on for the great majority of the book Times like that are juxtaposed with the happier times of Tent City reminding us that not all is lost for the homelessThe was a great great book and is one of the few that I truly believe that everyone needs to read


  8. says:

    Toronto's tent city was infamous a little bit of wild west in the tall grass and scrub trees of a slated for development chunk of TO real estate Homelessness in big cities is always an issue what was so interesting about the tent city was that a group of individuals were making themselves a village settling the territory and Mr Bishop Stall managed to be there for the best part of the final year That violence was the rule of law was not surprising nor that they were out of their heads via drugs andor alcohol most of the time What was touching was the sense of community that they created amongst each other notwithstanding the lack of ethics lack of boundaries in relation to the larger society


  9. says:

    Down to This is a human compassionate and gritty true to life glimpse of life as a homeless suatter It is exceptionally well written I couldn't put it downIt's so easy to de personalize the homeless men and women we encounter in passing This book makes them human again For all their challenges and frailties they are people we might very well be if the right perfect storm of life's pain were to hit at just the right moment Though we might never have the euivalent courage to keep trying keep living keep believing that a better day may come despite evidence around us to the contraryBefore you spout off any opinions about what the problem is and how to solve it have a read and see a different non political side to the story


  10. says:

    45 stars I don't normally read books about addiction and homelessness but this one was really refreshing The author Shaun is seriously messed up after a nasty break up that was all his fault and he decides to recover by living in Toronto's 'Tent City' for a year while writing about itWhat is most striking about this book is how he humanizes all of the people he meets without making you sympathize with them much or love them You get the impression that while it was a horrible and drastic way to live for him it also greatly impacted the rest of his lifeUltimately this book is informative hopeful and sometimes dreary I'll definitely never take having a roof over my head for granted again after reading this Highly recommended