Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Review: Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski

Have you ever wondered if you would be the same person, with the same strength of character, if you lived under different circumstances? I certainly have. Mike Yankoski not only wondered, he tested himself by becoming homeless for five months! Would he be able to endure the daily hardships of life on the streets with the integrity and faith he lived his life as an upper-middle class college student?

This book chronicles the daily thoughts and experiences of Mike and his friend as they spent time on the streets in five different US cities. He allows his readers to see what people on the streets go through, think, and feel as he relates to them as I never could - one of them. He details unexpected acts of kindness, along with unspeakable acts of violence, disheartening acts of thoughtlessness, and troubling acts of desperation by people just trying to make it to the next day alive. The frank and genuine writing allows the reader to feel like he is along for this journey, too.  The reader will hurt along with the people he reads about, smile with joy when Mike finds half-eaten food for his dinner, and tense up with frustration as one Christian after another treats Mike and the other homeless people he meets as if they don't even exist - or worse, as if they don't even matter.

It would be difficult to read this book and come away unchanged. This is the second book I have read about homelessness, and just as the first one did, this book challenged the way I view the homeless people I encounter.  It has given me a greater compassion for them and a greater understanding of their lives.  It drives home the point that these are real people, the majority of whom did not necessarily choose to live this way, but are doing the best they can to survive the circumstances they now face. This book has made me want to have a plan in mind for how to help people when I have the opportunity! Thankfully, the book has some ideas, and the publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah, has also made available an action plan for those who are challenged by reading this book.  The Action Plan can be found here. You can also read the first chapter of this book online here.  I hope you decide to read this book, and allow yourself to be challenged and changed by what you find in the pages! I don't think you will be dissapointed if you do.

*As compensation for providing this review, I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah.

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alex said...

this books looks intersting. where can i find one?

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Johanna said...

Alex, The cheapest place I saw it was on, but any major book store should have it.

alex said...

Thanks Johanna for the information.. God bless..

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