Book Recommendation: Tunnel People

My mother recommended Tunnel People a couple months ago, and I didn’t give the suggestion much attention. I added it to my library reserve list when I was trying to look for a few new reads. Nonfiction can be tricky for me, I truly enjoy learning about true experiences, but only when there is still a story element.  In this book, Teun Voeten, a Dutch reporter decides to stay with people who live in the abandoned subway tunnels of New York City. He lives with one specific group for 2 months in the winter, and then returns for 3 months in the summer.

Voeten really gets to know these people, and I felt like I got to know them too. Becoming emotionally invested in the problems of others is something I do with people I know, so because I felt like I knew Bernard and the other tunnel dwellers, I became very emotionally invested in their stories. These people did not consider themselves homeless, they had a home, a home in a tunnel. There was no rent, they made their houses out of boards and whatever else they had or could find, they cooked on grills, and borrowed electricity from the park above ground.

The author was very clearly reporting, not sharing a message. He interviews many community leaders, pastors, police officers, and employees of the trains about the homelessness. He doesn’t claim to know the answer for Americans, but the reality is, we have lots of homeless people in our country, the numbers are sketchy because people don’t live in one place or fill out the census. But we are all people, everyone has a story, a battle they are fighting. Putting stories with a cause raises awareness, and raised awareness can lead to change.

This book introduced me to some fascinating people who live their lives in a way very different from my own. It also got me thinking, which is a mark of a good book. If your looking for something different, go get it from the library, or you could buy it, or download it, or listen to it. There are lots of ways to read. Enjoy.