Saturday, February 9, 2013

Homelessness & Swindells' Stone Cold

From today's Washington Post editorial "600 homeless children in D.C., and no one seems to care:"
The District has set a dubious new record for the number of homeless kids crammed inside a scary, abandoned hospital that serves as the city’s makeshift family homeless shelter. There are about 600, according to a nightly census done by the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness... This, of course, is happening in the same city now rolling in a $417 million budget surplus and on track for a $240 million surplus in the coming year.
A good book about homelessness is Robert Swindells' young adult novel Stone Cold. Most of the book is narrated by a newly-homeless teenager, although we get occasional interludes from the perspective of a crazed man who kills homeless people. The serial-killer storyline seems a little unnecessary, but it does add suspense. Plus, if I'm going to read/watch something about serial-killers, at least this book also gives some insight into societal ills (unlike, say, Dexter).

If you prefer classics, I've heard George Orwell's semi-autobiographical novel Down and Out in Paris and London is, like most things Orwell, excellent.  If you'd prefer a book written by someone who spent much of their life homeless, I've heard John Healy's autobiography The Grass Arena is good.

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