ISBN #: 978-1449790202
Page Count: 198
Copyright: April 10, 2013
(Taken from Amazon)
In this amazing story, Jeremy Reynalds, who founded and runs New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter and was once homeless himself, shares how he rose from the despair of homelessness to the pinnacle of academia, earning a doctorate in intercultural education at Biola University in La Mirada, California.
In addition, the book contains stories of a number of people who have fallen on hard times and have gotten back on their feet again with the help of the Lord at Joy Junction.
A book written about homelessness in a city in New Mexico, but could be in "Anywhere, U.S.A." Having been homeless myself, this book hit home, and it hit hard, with no sugar-coating as to the insecurity, fear and uncertainty that goes with the homeless each and every day of their lives on the streets (What's for dinner for my family and me tonight? Dumpster-diving, begging, or finding an 89-cent package of cold hot dogs from Wallyworld?). A lot of shelters - if there is any room to begin with - separate families, and if not the shelter, then it's a lot of "Can't stay here ... gotta move on." And culverts are cold comfort.
On the flip side, the author really made the effort to try and show the hope in tomorrow that can be found in any situation, and how sometimes people with similar experiences will sometimes join together to create an atmosphere of hope where none previously existed. It's a book that is to-the-point; it's an easy read and really transmits the homeless lifestyle in its depressing, scary, insecure, dark, hopeful ups and downs that such people struggle with every day, including the social stigmas that society thrusts (sometimes undeservingly) upon them.
It's a harsh, cold, unforgiving reality that is without mercy in many ways and people, as a whole, can't handle "that kind of messy." If the solution to end homelessness is to raise society's awareness and compassion, then this is the type of book that can start the conversations needed to find workable solutions. Things can change, "tables" can turn, and anyone can go from the top of the world to the bottom of it in no time flat. Unless one has been there, understanding is more difficult to come by.
The reading of A Sheltered Life affords the reader a stark, undiluted glimpse into what life can be like for the people who, for whatever reason, "fall through the cracks" of society's standards.
*A physical copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.