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Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on…

Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Mike Yankoski

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3663029,640 (4)5
Title:Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America
Authors:Mike Yankoski
Info:Multnomah Books (2005), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

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Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America by Mike Yankoski (2005)


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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
I was very excited to have the opportunity to read & review this book. Being a knitter & crocheter, I often make blankets for charity - usually for people in nursing homes, or pets in animal shelters. Last fall I made about 30 hats & a few scarves for a group collecting woolies for homeless vets. Ever since then, I've been thinking about doing more for the homeless. Sure, I have made hats in the past for them, but certainly not like I do the lapghans. I wasn't really sure what to expect about this book, but I was definitely interested from the get go.

This book was not one of those books where you sit down & devour over the course of one long afternoon. I read the book daily, usually a few minutes here & there and longer periods maybe once a week. I read it in small portions, so that I could really think about what Yankoski was writing about. The faster I read a book, the less I actually "think" about it, and I knew that I wanted to get "something" out of Under The Overpass.

Was I moved reading this book? Definitely. This is an experience few would volunteer to undertake, and I think Mike & his friend Sam were lucky to survive as well as they did. Sure, they met interesting characters, and this experience changed their life forever. Did it change my life? Well... for the moment, anyway. One of my New Year's goals was to make 24 hats for the homeless. Sure, that's not a lot... but that's 24 warmer bodies if I succeed. If I had more money, more time, would I want to do more? Sure, you bet. Will I end up volunteering at a homeless shelter, or a food kitchen? I'd love to say yes, because the book did move me that much, and I did learn a lot, but no, I probably won't end up doing those things.

This is not an easy book to read, but it is a book you should read. ( )
  anastaciaknits | Oct 29, 2016 |
Finished this book wondering if I might have gotten more out of this book then the author??

Ok, maybe that's being slightly self-righteous, but this book was pretty much a warm feeling-cold feeling (love and hate being too strong of terms) experience for me, with Mike Yankoski = cold feeling and idea = warm feeling; that's probably a bit too harsh too.

I recognize that humans are, even when they have the best of intentions, flawed, so since Yankoski wasn't inspired to write the next book of the Bible, I should probably cut him some slack, but then I have to think "where is all the money from this book going?" to another middle class guy who just happens to notice homeless people? He's using his experience with homeless people to make money?

Maybe he just needed some time to let the whole experience ferment a little more, but the end of the book didn't show him very inspired. Did he learn anything, except maybe that he doesn't want to end up homeless? It's not that I want to pigeon-hole him as "the homeless guy", but he wrote a book on the subject, thus claiming some kind of authority on the subject; so shouldn't he be doing something? ( )
  swampygirl | Dec 9, 2013 |
From July 2005 School Library Journal:
Mike Yankoski led a fairly typical upper-middle-class kind of life. A college student in Santa Barbara, he was comfortable with his family, his school, and his friends. However, listening to a Sunday sermon one morning in 2002, he was shaken out of his complacency and began to wonder whether his faith would remain as strong if his privileged upbringing and typical college life were taken away.
So begins Mike’s decision to put his faith to the test. After discussing his plans with his family and various advisors, he and his friend Sam take a leave of absence from their studies and their “middle class” lives to enter the world of the homeless. The two young men spend five months—May 27 through November 2, 2003—on the streets of Denver, Washington DC, Portland, Phoenix, San Francisco, and San Diego. Playing their guitars and panhandling, they must rely entirely on the charity of others.
This is not “homelessness lite.” The harshness, the hunger, and the dangers are all reported in detail from the journals that they kept. Mike and Sam become entrenched in the daily indignities of scrounging through garbage to find food, of being told to move along when they are sleeping on a sidewalk, and of being gazed through as if they are part of the scenery. They form friendships with the other homeless men and women they meet in their journeys, and watch many of these friends struggle with alcoholism and drug addiction.
Yankoski’s recounting of his life on the streets reflects poignancy and insight. He steers clear of preachy or patronizing tones, and his dry sense of humor makes the book thoroughly readable. High school students will appreciate the frankness with which he approaches the day to day challenges and his own personal struggles. Yankoski does not offer up any solutions for homelessness or attempt to “fix” his newfound friends, but he does inspire us to perhaps go out on faith a little more in our own struggles and in our interactions with one another.

( )
  KimJD | Apr 8, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The idea behind this book is noble, but from my work with the homeless I don't think it is realistic. Yes, perhaps the way they were treated sometimes, but unless the authors can experience mental illness, addiction, abuse and other issues, they will never really be able to know. However, kudos to them for making much more of an effort than most people. Anything that brings positive awareness to the homeless and advocates for change is good. ( )
  BookBlogMuse | Jul 11, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Under the Overpass is a great ‘must-read’ book! The author’s writing makes you ‘feel’ his experience. I found the book to be very eye-opening to the reality of the hardships and pain that homeless people experience. I live in a comfortable suburban area and rarely think about homeless people and how difficult it would be to live on the streets in all kinds of weather. This book challenged me to think outside of my own comforts and see homeless people not as ‘less than myself’ but as another person with needs- just like the rest of us. Jesus said in Matthew 25:40 “ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,you did it to me.’” and this book really captures how we can reach out to some of the ‘least’.

I recommend this book not because it is an enjoyable read (although the author does have some humorous spots). I recommend it more so because it is a convicting and challenging book at how we view other people in the world that are less fortunate than us. It steps on our toes and opens our eyes to see what homeless people go through and how we can show them the Love of Jesus in a practical way with the hopes of maybe sharing the Gospel with them. That is something that could make the lowest and poorest richer than they would ever deserve.
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Mike Yankoski's journey as a homeless man for five months in an attempt to test the strength of his Christian faith.

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