It is a rare day that I spend reading a non-fiction book from cover to cover in as quick a time as I can manage. In fact, I cannot remember a day in all of my history that I have read a non-fiction book without breaks for fiction, let alone in one day. I could not put Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski down. I read the book in every spare minute from Tae Kwon Do Practice through Ballet and read again at night until the book was done.
If you are not ready to make some changes in your life, don’t read this book! Yankoski details his time undercover as a homeless person. Basically, he and a friend spent six months of their life traveling from one major city to another living as homeless people on the streets. They could not travel until they had the funds. They didn’t take any funds with them except money for a one-way cab to the hospital in case of emergency. They didn’t touch it. They didn’t take but a minimum of clothing. They panhandled for money, ate in soup kitchens and rescue missions, showered only every three to six weeks, slept with rats and lived the experience as if it were real. As if they could not just pack up and head home whenever the going got rough or the six months was over. They tried to find refuge in churches, and were shocked at the number of times they were turned away and were not even allowed to stay and worship — let alone offered food or clothing. They tried to encourage and witness to the homeless they lived near and fellowshipped with and discovered that most are addicted to drugs, alcohol or both and many have mental illnesses. Lives were changed. Mostly their own.
This book comes with my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION. I don’t think I have ever said that before. Ever. I cannot wait to have my children read it. I have already changed how I live. See, for several weeks or months or years now I have been struggling with how I can clothe the naked and feed the hungry in the middle of my suburban, middle class, stay-at-home- Mom-with-six-kids life. And, I always think I will start remembering to at least buy a bag of groceries at the grocery store to put in the town food pantry box. But, I always forget. For months! And I walk out the door with a shrug and a vow to do better next time. Except this week, I decided that wasn’t good enough. Without time to go back through the store, I decided to take the hit where it hurts — from my own week’s groceries. I’m sure I did not give enough, but I am not going to have enough sugar, flour, or chicken broth to make it through the weeks meals without another trip in the cold to the grocery. At least I do not have to walk! And, I am hoping that by sacrificing what I need from my own stash each week I will eventually remember to actually purposely buy useful food for our hungry in my hometown. I am actively looking for other opportunities to help the poor in our community. I wasn’t doing that before.
My Bottom Line: Please buy this book and read it. And buy it as Christmas gifts. It’s compelling. It’s fascinating. You won’t want to put it down. You walk away a better person for it.
You can actually read the first chapter of the book here: Under the Overpass Chapter One
and you can participate in the Under the Overpass Action Plan too.
Disclaimer: I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing for free in exchange for an honest review on my blog. Here you have it.