I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Author Peter C. Mitchell takes readers on a heartbreaking journey that shows how a simple mistake and bad luck can take the best of us down a road of misery and heartache in his book, “Rude Awakenings from Sleeping Rough”.
This is a story that the charities don’t want you to read. This is the fate that can befall any of us that you don’t want to acknowledge.
For years you have passed them on the streets, as much a part of your routine as your morning shower, your half-hearted scan of the world’s news — fake or otherwise — and the barista who artistically crafts the £4 cappuccino with soya milk, three drops of vanilla, and a flutter of chocolate sprinkles that has to be made just right or it throws your day off in ways that nobody else understands.
You see them as often as you see your own family. The disenfranchised. The rough sleepers. The homeless. Camped out and befouling the sidewalks and alleyways of your daily commute, their worldly possessions, such as they are, spread around them –as dirty and worn out as the sleepers themselves, but as valuable to them as your £100 brogues are to you.
Occasionally you get the urge to throw some loose change at them as a gesture of magnanimous humanity, but when push comes to shove you would rather tip the honest, hard-working barista who ensures your day gets off to a proper start. Better to support the successful rather than throw good money after bad trying to keep the great unwashed afloat.
You have conditioned yourself to look through them – allowing your eyes to pass over them without actually seeing them. A defeated acceptance of lives gone wrong; uncomfortable reminders of what can happen when the best laid plans of mice and men go horribly awry. “Thank god I’m not like them,” you think, sipping your £4 cup of liquid gold. “I could never let that happen to me.”
Until suddenly – inexplicably – it does. And you discover the life you have built was nothing more than a house of cards that crashed down around you with frightening ease. A spate of bad luck, a poor decision or two, and the ubiquitous ‘circumstances beyond your control’ conspire to create a perfect storm of events that leaves you cast away on the streets feeling dazed, disjointed, and damned.
This is Peter C. Mitchell’s story. But it could be your story. Not to mention the thousands of others, past and present, that have found themselves broken behind closed charity doors. Theirs are the stories that need to be heard. To be read.
A masterful and expertly written book, author Peter C. Mitchell does a phenomenal job of relaying the hardships and struggles of being forced to live on the streets and endure the horrors that await those forced into those positions. He also shocks readers with a raw and emotional look into the real world struggles of those seeking shelter and help from charities and housing and the realities of those charities and the “work” they do.
The book itself is thoroughly written and well organized, and the author’s descriptive style of writing really paints a picture of the realities of homelessness and poverty, as well as the living situation of those seeking help in what should be a sanctuary. The book also does a fantastic job of highlighting the need for more guidance and insight from government officials when it comes to travel and immigration, as a simple clerical error or lack of effort by an employee could lead to years of misery for the average traveler.
Powerful, evenly-paced, and educational, author Peter C. Mitchell’s “Rude Awakenings from Sleeping Rough” is the non-fiction, memoir-style read you didn’t know you needed. As many more people have become affected both physically and financially from the COVDI-19 Pandemic and the homeless population has been hit by the virus hard, coming to understand those who find themselves living on the streets has never been more important. Finding a means of not only understanding the homeless but identifying with them and reminding them and ourselves they are human beings is an important first step in trying to solve this crisis. If you haven’t yet, grab a copy of this truly engaging read today!
About the Author
London born, Canadian raised Peter Mitchell was bumbling his way through a moderately successful career in business journalism when an investigation into a story on Corporate Social Responsibility inspired him to look beyond profit margins and PR into the very real problems faced by society. This inspiration prompted him to dip his toes into a self-confessed Sanity/Vanity project of a biography of his great, great grandfather, Sir John Kirk.
As Secretary of The Ragged School Union, John championed the causes of children, the disabled, and the working poor in Victorian-era London. His influence extended beyond the city limits, and his life proved more interesting than previous biographies revealed. Dust-buried references have surfaced in the most obscure locales, showing the consequences—both good and bad—to the ragged and crippled children John Kirk devoted his life to help.
In 2017, Peter returned to London to complete his research and begin the writing of “A Knight in the Slums.” The past was ready to be mined, and the future was assured. The present, however, took an unpredictable -and darkly ironic—turn.
A series of unfortunate events transpired, creating a perfect storm of calamities leaving Peter penniless and sleeping rough. He had unwittingly fallen victim to the same societal ailments John Kirk fought. That nightmare inadvertently provided him with an inside look into the current workings of these same systems put in place by his great, great grandfather, and others like him, put in place over a century ago. That experience frightened him more than the horrors of homelessness itself.
Armed with the scars of this unexpected, but disturbingly relevant, knowledge Peter continues to work on “A Knight in the Slums” with renewed insight. John Kirk created solutions over 100 years ago that are still in play today. Times have changed; yet the solutions have stagnated, and proven to not be solutions, but mechanisms that perpetuate the cycle of poverty: a Hell’s Carousel funded by well-meant individuals and institutions blinded by the brand of “charity.” New systems need to be developed; new solutions need to be found.