Reeves Gilmore’s memoir Adventures of a (Mostly) First Class Guy is a sassy account of a man’s life. The voice in this memoir is unique and fresh: this book is pure fun. This memoir structured around the places he has been chronicles everything from Gilmore’s beginnings in Texas to his years of travel. Travel as the title suggests is an important component of this man’s life and has helped shape him into the adventurous style-conscious man he is today. As Gilmore explains “It’s not about when but how you arrive!”
Gilmore has structured his sections and stories around his travels; a great organizing subject. At the start of the memoir he speaks of his restlessness of his desire to see the world. The trips he’s taken or wishes to take frame this piece. Here we are introduced to Gilmore’s background. Appropriately enough the book begins with Reeves “gazing at the twilight sky.”
A major strength of this book is Gilmore’s style and the voice he creates. His writing is personable: reading this memoir is like attending cocktail hour at a pricey hotel and listening to a friend’s anecdotes. Some of the funniest and sweetest moments happen when the trips hit a snag (such as when Gilmore’s partner Tom misses a flight) or when Gilmore has to sit in coach next to a child and without his beloved champagne.
However the structure of the memoir is also one of the book’s downfalls. At first the sections seem tight and focused. Gilmore begins his book with “The Foundation is Poured” a section that sets the stage for his life. The next section is titled “Erecting the Framework” and has Gilmore in high school and progresses to the death of Gilmore’s parents and his first trip abroad. However after these first two sections the titles are dropped and he divides the rest of the memoir according to each year of his life from 1982- 2006. Information comes at a fast pace and it is difficult to digest the information.
Additionally the time Gilmore devotes to subject matter is uneven. For instance the death of his parents and his romantic history (and the coming out process) are brushed over but the sections discussing various trips are quite lengthy. Gilmore’s memoir would have been stronger if he’d been a bit choosier about the details and experiences he discusses and if he hadn’t felt the need to discuss every year of his life. Then he would have had the space and time to devote to important moments.
There are some memoirs that seem to lack a point: Why is one person’s supposedly true account of their life important? However there is no doubt that Gilmore has lead an interesting adventure-filled life. This isn’t a book full of life-changing answers but it is a sweet account of a man’s amazement and love of the world.