Confessions of an Inadvertently Gentrifying Soul – a review


Confessions of an Inadvertently Gentrifying Soul
by Bill Engleson
Publishing by Silver Bow Publishing

Purchase copies here

When I moved permanently to a small Caribbean island, there was a saying within the long-term expat community: Why would we want to change what brought us here in the first place? Unfortunately, those outsiders who arrived during the decades following me didn’t get this same memo. So I approached Bill Engleson’s new collection of essays with complete understanding and empathy.

Confessions of an Inadvertently Gentrifying Soul is writing with a glint in its eye and an upwards curve to the lips. Yes, these are rants about the inevitable changes that come to any small place once it’s discovered, but through these rants Engleson manages to also preserve the memory of that which brought him to Denman Island in the first place. With this collection, we have a unique opportunity to see what life was like before those other gentrifying souls moved into Ruraltania and changed it into something that closer resembled their way of life they left behind back in the big cities.

Peppered with relevant quotes from famous authors, comedians, and other thinkers, these essays (both previously published and new) on island and small-town life, cover subjects as diverse as: libraries, librarians and unusual objects found inside borrowed books; the usefulness (or not) of committees; censorship; tradition; the generation of ideas; local characters and curmudgeons; movies and old episodes of Leave It To Beaver.

So even though you have never lived on an island or in a small place, there’s still a great deal of insight into life in general to be gained from reading Confessions of an Inadvertently Gentrifying Soul. Engleson’s writing is comfortable, and very much like chatting over coffee while sitting in mismatched upholstered chairs in front of a wood fire. In fact, the entire book is like reminiscing with an old friend.

~ Susan M. Toy, author of the Bequia Perspective novels
(This review was previously published in the Island Tides newspaper of Denman Island)

Bill Engleson has been featured on Reading Recommendations, here and here. Susan M. Toy is the brains behind Reading Recommendations and reading recommendations reviewed.



  1. Pingback: Bill Engleson – update on a new collection of essays | Reading Recommendations
  2. roughseasinthemed · December 28, 2016

    Soundsa thoughtful and interesting read, I could relate to pretty much all of it, I guess.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. denmaniacs4 · December 28, 2016

    Thanks for the post and review, Susan. It is a pick-me-up on a slightly fluish day. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. John W. Howell · December 28, 2016

    I have lived on Mustang Island in the Gulf for the last five years and can relate to why change what brought me here. Thanks, Susan.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Best Books Read in 2016 – Part 3 | Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

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