Thursday, February 9, 2012
Potpourri of Pages
I picked this book out at the library somewhat randomly, half-expecting it to be an earnestly self-righteous tome by someone who's ideology differed very annoyingly from mine. But hey, I thought I'd give it a chance. It turned out to be one of the most engrossing books I have read in a long time.
It is the story of a doctor who started a mobile medicine unit to treat the homeless teens in Phoenix, AZ. Once I started reading it, I had such a hard time putting it down. Each kid's story pulled you in and had you reading page after page trying to get to the happy ending. Unfortunately, the endings weren't all happy. The stories Dr. Christensen tells of his work, the kids, and the need are gripping and challenging. It's not a book that leaves you feeling complacent when you finish.
I would recommend it to most anyone, with a few disclaimers. 1. I have lived a life that has left me somewhat devoid of sensitivity to topics that others might find very distressing. So there may be some readers that find the book more upsetting than inspiring; my advice is to read it anyway. This is the ugly reality of a sad world, and the only thing that will actually help is to get busy changing it, not to turn away so we don't have to feel bad. 2. For certain politically inclined amongst my readers, you may find yourself in disagreement on some of the doctor's beliefs regarding healthcare. Even though readers may find themselves with differing views on the exact method of solution, we can all unite in a common understanding of the problems and a commitment to make things better.
You can find more information about the program, as well as clear links if you want to help or donate, at www.askmewhyihurt.com. That is a really great website, with photos of people you meet in the books and lots more information about what they do. I also recommend the website www.umom.org, an organization that works with Dr. Christensen to help the homeless population of Phoenix.
This book can alter the way you approach life, but only if you let it. It's not going to yank you off the couch and make you get involved, but it does give you the opportunity, and then the wonderfully helpful websites give you specific instructions on many easy ways to make a difference. I personally am hoping to volunteer in some capacity at the shelter on a personal mission trip. My brother lives in Phoenix and it would be a great chance to visit him while doing something I'll remember the rest of my life. And I've never been on a mission trip. And this would be cheaper than going overseas. And I don't have my passport yet. So, yep, sounds like a great idea to me.