Living at the Edge of the World: Homeless

We (humans) are the only creatures that can become lost.
One World: Tina S. (New York. c. 1986) Magpies, North Ridge (Westminster, CO. 2020)

Living at the Edge of the World is a story about a young girl who lived underground (mostly) for five years, in New York City, from 1986 to 1990. In her own words (mostly) with the help of journalist, Jamie Pastor Bolnick.

President Donald Trump recently said he wants to put a woman on the moon and a man on Mars, in his next term. Those are great goals. I’d like to see homelessness ended, especially for children. Which do you think is most likely?

How children become homeless

is a good question. Which this book does a good job of getting down to – to the root causes. For all our progress regarding life’s challenges, some things don’t change.

Homelessness is actually expanding in the US, and the reasons remain constant because people, like all creatures, need that which they always have; and respond within their individual abilities to meet those needs.

Tina S

the heroine (and she is) of the story was cast out by her mother because she was a liability (my word). Tina had gotten pregnant and was a complication to her mother’s own quest for love and validation. Tina took to the streets (of Manhattan) for comfort and attachment. “A girl who ran away”, not a “runaway”, Jamie tells her.

Jamie Bolnick

plays a huge part in Tina’s recovery. At wit’s end, Tina calls Jamie, who’s doing a story about the suicide of another white, pretty, smart, young girl. As things turn out – Jamie connects Tina to a non-profit bent on helping homeless kids. And one thing leads to another as they tend to do. So the story unfolds, albeit …

Style

is always hanging around. No matter in appearance, but also in words – writing and reading. This is a tough read. Not only because of the story, but because of the style, or voice. It’s disjointed, not strictly chronological. And yet true. Events bounce back and forth. Not unlike memory or conversation.

For me? Kudos to Jamie. I think she captures Tina’s voice and struggle.

My connection

to this story/book is long and almost as complicated (or as simple) as Tina’s story. Homelessness is, to me, more important than putting a man on Mars or a woman on the moon. Trust me (?) Homeless children is still a huge problem.

Spoiler alert:

This book will bring tears to your eyes. It’s about death and dying – what that feels and is like. (Not unlike Infinite Jest.) But also about about courage and strength. Resiliency. And it’s true.

PS

I was reminded about this book I had in my garage because of a new book being published by Teal Swan about homelessness. Some things don’t change.

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