The Emperor of Ice Cream
By Gary Almeter
Gary uses his signature humor to recount the little moments of growing up next to his Grandpa's dairy farm and how his understanding has evolved after moving to the big cities for which he had always yearned. Does changing from denim overalls to a Brooks Brothers suit change a person?
Growing up on a small dairy farm in upstate New York, Gary lived a few hundred steps from his paternal grandparents. His grandfather (hereafter “Grandpa”) was a perpetually happy man and Gary wondered, in light of the nature of farm work, in light of some of the hardships Grandpa endured, in light of the pace of the town, in light of the way he was chronically frugal, how this could be so. After college, Gary moved to the city and reveled in the cadence and sophistication of the city. And began to see how places came to shape the people who lived in those places. How the way we defy and indulge in a place; how the way we yearn for the notion of somewhere else; how the cadence and influence of a place affects a person.
In The Emperor of Ice Cream, Gary recounts all the little moments—moments he never thought could or would be important—he had with Grandpa to try to understand who Grandpa was. He—with an astonishing blend of his signature humor and a reverence that only comes from a boy who loves his grandfather—then examines how his understanding of those moments has evolved after moving to the big cities for which he had always yearned. Does changing from denim overalls to a Brooks Brothers suit change a person? Should it? Is cow piss really that different from the piss with which the sidewalks of New York City are often soaked?
About the Author
Gary Almeter on Points in Case – Gary M. Almeter grew up on a small dairy farm in Western New York, about 300 child-sized steps from his Grandpa's house, where ice cream—usually Maple Walnut or Butter Pecan—was always available. He is now an attorney whose short stories, essays and humor pieces have appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, 1966, Splitsider, Verdad, and Writer's Bone. In addition to winning his 8th grade spelling bee, he has been awarded numerous awards for his non-fiction, including the Maryland Writers Association's Best Essay award in 2015. Gary has a B.A. in English from Le Moyne College; an M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Boston College; and a J.D. from the University of Maryland. He currently lives in Baltimore, MD, about 300 adult-sized steps from the best ice cream shop in Baltimore, with his wife, three children, beagle and numerous deferred domestic projects.
Gary Almeter's soulful debut The Emperor of Ice Cream is full of wisdom and effervescence. Stemming from his remembrances of his late grandfather, the author deftly and, at times, hilariously examines all the lives he's lived since his quaint American upbringing pushed him out into the world. Oh, and there's plenty of ice cream. Grab a spoon and dig into one of the best books you'll read all year.
-Daniel Ford, Writer's Bone
“The Emperor of Ice Cream is a memoir that is completely relatable. Even though I didn't grow up on a farm in upstate NY, or helped my own grandfather birth a calf, Almeter's wit, combined with his meticulous attention to detail, allowed me to take this journey right along side him. He triggered so many memories and feelings from my own childhood, that I couldn't wait to finish this book, but also never wanted it to end. I laughed and cried through it all! Put this on your must read list of 2019!”
“The Emperor of Ice Cream is a beautiful, funny and touching memoir about author Gary Almeter and his grandfather. A lawyer living the urban, sophisticated life, Almeter sets out to explore the truth about his grandfather John, a rural dairy farmer who never lived more than a mile from where he was born. Written with humor, intelligence and unsparing honesty, every chapter unravels another layer about both men and weaves a new thread through their story, illuminating the differences between the two but also what binds them. Using the gossamer lens of childhood memory, Almeter takes a deep dive into the life of a man that tells us a greater tale about family, home, vulnerability, shame, goodness, and the complicated place that is America.”
“Gary Almeter's The Emperor of Ice Cream is an honest and poignant coming of age memoir about leaving home, finding one's way, and learning what home always meant. For those not yet familiar with Almeter's writing, he's been a regular contributor at literary humor mainstay Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency since 2015, so I expected a comical angle. Almeter goes beyond the clever approach to reveal a sentimental journey from a small farming community in Western New York, to Boston, and eventually to law school and the patriarch of his own family. Along the way he recounts memories of his grandfather, who instilled in him a number of life lessons, while pontificating as to how his grandfather might feel about the world he inhabits and the person he's become. Having grown up in a similar background, I enjoyed Almeter's ability to intertwine memories of his childhood into the story, and his detailed recollections of the many scenes of his life. It's a tale for anyone with a grandparent or parent, dead or alive, who has taught them character, humility, and the importance of family, and how the people in our lives instill values in us regardless of geography. Almeter is an excellent storyteller with an eye for detail and wit. I'm looking forward to reading more from the author.”
More Book Details
- Paperback: 276 pages
- Publisher: Unsolicited Press (March 21, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1947021826
- ISBN-13: 978-1947021822
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches