Sunday, January 23, 2011

Don't Pass This By

By far, Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski has been the best book I’ve received from a publisher so far (Yes, it’s true. Waterbook Multnomah sent me the book in exchange for an honest review). Right now there are 10 books by my bed with bookmarks in them. The competition for my time is high, but Under the Overpass consistently made it off the stack and into my hands.

Let me introduce you to the two main characters in this gem of a memoir—Mike and Sam, two college-age guys who are homeless. They didn’t loose their jobs. They didn’t succumb to addiction. They didn’t get kicked out of their parent’s houses. They chose to live on the streets to find out what it would be like to fully rely on Christ for all their needs. Intense, right? I would never want to go on that adventure, but I sure did enjoy reading about it. Traveling from Denver to DC, Portland to San Francisco, Phoenix to San Diego, they slept through rainy nights and panhandled in over 100 degree weather. They got ignored and they got loved. Sometimes the people who you would expect to love them the most treated them the worst, and vise versa.

What I loved about Under the Overpass was the story. I wasn’t reading a book about how to help the homeless. I was reading a story that involved a lot of homeless people—a story that caught me up and made me want to keep reading. It was within that story I saw some of the issues that homelessness brings. I saw interactions that were helpful and encouraging and I saw reactions that were harsh. It made me want to act like the people who were loving toward Mike and Sam, and to make sure I didn’t act like the people who ignored them and treated them like they weren’t human. That’s way more life changing than reading a book telling me facts about homelessness, in my opinion.

Whether you read it because you’re looking for an interesting story or you read it to be inspired, I think you’ll be glad you read Under the Overpass.

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