Friday, December 7, 2012

A Gift of Hope

Title:  A Gift of Hope
Author:  Danielle Steel
Publication Information:  Delacorte Press, Random House Publishing Group, Random House Inc. 2012. 128 pages.

Book Source:  I read this book because I have a long standing habit of reading new Danielle Steel books as they come out. The book came as a hardcover from the library.

Favorite Quote:  "Homelessness is not one of the 'sexy' or appealing causes that make people rush forward to help ... They [the homeless] frighten us, not just in their appearance or behavior, but because if we look at them more closely, we cannot help but fear that something similar could happen to us or someone we love ... We have to help."

A Gift of Hope sounds like it would be the title of a Danielle Steel novel. Her books are often about characters in difficult situations finding hope and finding a future. This book, however, is not a novel. It is about real people in extremely difficult situations who don't always find a way to the future. This book is nonfiction, and it is about the homeless.

A Gift of Hope is about the "Yo! Angel" homeless outreach team that Danielle Steel started, funded, and worked with for eleven years. The project grew out of a need to cope with her son's suicide. It started with Danielle Steel going out into the San Francisco streets at night bringing care packages - jackets, hats, gloves - to the homeless. It grew somewhat more organized, but not much bigger because to protect her privacy, the project operated through her private funding and independently of any outside support. It ended for the same reason - it became unfeasible to fund. Perhaps, that is the reason for this book?

I find this book difficult to assess. It draws attention to a critical area for our society - how to most effectively help the homeless - from prevention to support. As such, it is an important book. As a book, however, it got repetitive, and the tone was a little removed. She does say repeatedly throughout the book that Yo! Angel gave to the homeless without asking for anything in return. Without asking even for their story. However, this book needed stories to develop that personal connection.

I do hope that the book draws greater attention to the plight of the homeless and that more help can be given. 

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