Ask Me Why I Hurt
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Ask Me Why I Hurt

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  839 ratings  ·  193 reviews
The unforgettable inspiring memoir of one extraordinary doctor who is saving lives in a most unconventional way Ask Me Why I Hurt is the touching and revealing first-person account of the remarkable work of Dr. Randy Christensen. Trained as a pediatrician, he works not in a typical hospital setting but, rather, in a 38-foot Winnebago that has been refitted as a doctor’s of...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Dr. Randy Christensen operates a mobile doctor's office, converted from a Winnebago, that he drives around the Phoenix area to see to the medical needs of homeless children and young adults. I first heard about Ask Me Why I Hurt on NPR's Diane Rehm Show, where Dr. Christensen was a guest. I immediately requested his book from the library, and my husband Jordan and I read it aloud together. Jordan says Randy Christensen is his new hero!

This book hit close to home on a number of different levels:

I've become a great fan of memoirs over time, particularly those about people who go about making a difference in the world around them. First-person accounts of the struggles that often come with doing the proverbial right thing are strengthening to me.

Randy Christensen, MD, has written just such a memoir. "Ask Me Why I Hurt" is the story of how he and a couple of colleagues start a mobile clinic to help the homeless youth of Phoenix, most of whom live in dire situations. Some of them are runaw...more
My husband works in the mental health field for a company which specializes in vulnerable groups. He doesn't work with patients directly, but it's made me interested in the topic. When I saw this book about Dr. Christensen, working in Arizona with one of the most vulnerable groups out there, I knew I needed to read it.

This book is a very interesting look at "Dr. Randy"'s journey setting up his mobile clinic, getting to know the needs of the people he serves, and how he deals with juggling his ho...more
Nancy Kennedy
I don't think I've ever read a book that made me feel more like a slug than this story of Dr. Randy Christensen and his work among homeless teens in a mobile medical clinic in Phoenix.

When his hospital begins to talk about founding a mobile medical van to reach homeless children, Dr. Christensen jumps at the chance to start the work. He motors around the bad parts of town aboard his converted Winnebago, battles skeptical medical and government bureaucracies and fundraises for grants and donation...more
Really good, but really sad at points (though given the topic that can hardly come as a surprise). There's at least one point if not more per chapter that could easily set the reader off crying.

It's all about how for the last 12 years Dr. Randy Christensen has been working to provide health care for youth in the Arizona state who are otherwise unable to get health care. A lot of the time the children/teens are homeless, living on the streets or staying with friends because even as dangerous as...more
Kaje Harper
If you are very squeamish, or if you enjoy being complacent, this book is not for you. For the rest of us, this is the fascinating and distressing true story of Dr. Randy Christensen, a pediatrician who began a mobile medical clinic to treat the homeless children of Phoenix. It is the story of ten years of individual successes and deep commitment, against the backdrop of infuriating neglect.

There are some stories of individual youngsters here. You meet Sugar, a teen prostitute whose resilience s...more
I generally enjoy medical non-fiction, and this was an easy read within the genre. Dr. Christensen's story of serving homeless adolescents through a mobile medical clinic is inspiring and admirable. There is no doubt that his work is significant.

That being said, I found the book sappy and tedious. How do you write truly interesting non-fiction? Facts are facts, so it must be in the manner of writing. I became bored with the serial obstacles as they were presented and surmounted. I suspect that n...more
I am not a doctor and know nothing about what it takes to take care of someone but this book makes me wish I knew so I could help him out! Randy Christensen's journey of his medical bus is an incredibly inspiring story that will make anyone wish they could get help out in some way.

This book is all about Christensen's journey of his medical bus as well as everything else that went along in his life. I knew the life of a doctor included long hours and heart wrenching tales but the stories of the...more
Wonderful - wonderful - wonderful! This is the perfect book for someone who has it in them to fight for the safety and wellness of our children, but maybe wasn't sure where they could be helpful. This book is an in-depth look at what is so broken with our current systems and the millions of helpless children that are being left out and denied basic necessities because of this current system. Heartbreaking to think that a country with the strengths and resources we have can let a whole population...more
T.A. Noonan
I want to like this book a lot more than I do. It is an easy, enjoyable read that brings attention to a little-known problem in this country. Ultimately, however, I find myself troubled by its focus. This should be a book about "the kids nobody wants," a wake-up call to those fortunate enough to have the luxury of reading about -- instead of living a life defined by -- homelessness. Ultimately, though, this is a story about "the doctor who heals [the kids nobody wants]," and while I admire Dr. C...more
If I were going by content alone, I'd probably rate this book higher. The information contained in it is really quite riveting, but the style is more honest than engrossing. Christensen makes himself sound like a bit of bumbler, and I guess that makes sense because at times that must be how he felt. I think he does a good job of getting across the "now"-ness of the story. He's looking back on a decade worth of work but he brings us along for the ride, so to speak, rather than just reminiscing fr...more
I received this book through the Goodreads First-Reads giveaway. This review pertains to the uncorrected ARC of, "tell Me Why I Hurt."

Rating: 2.5 stars

I really wanted to like Randy Christensen's memoir. it tells the important and often ignored story of homeless youth, and the people that do their best to help reverse the situation. However, the book read less like a memoir and more like a novel. There was detail overkill. For example, knowing that his wife had coconut and vanilla scented shampoo...more
Won from First Reads February 20, 2011. Received March 2, 2011.

March 4, 2011: The copy I received is an uncorrected proof, and despite numerous typos and grammatical errors (for which I'm usually a stickler, but I can forgive in this instance since this is not the final draft,) I find myself fascinated by this true story of a doctor who treats homeless teens out of a roaming Winnebago clinic. I'm on page 47 of 267, and it looks like this will be a quick read.

March 7: Finished the book today. I d...more
While at times I considered this book to be a little jumpy (from story to story there would be large blocks of time), it was a very touching memoir of someone who knew very early on what his lifes calling was and worked very hard to acheive it. It is a fabulous story of true hero's among us who make as much of a difference as they possibly can. To me it was an amazing eye opening read! It brings to light the sadness and helplessness that most of us probably don't even realise is out there so clo...more
I loved this book. Inspiring story of providing medical care for homeless children in Arizona. I thought Dr. Christensen provided a humble, realistic view of the struggles he faced during this monumental task and the book was a good balance of inspiring success stories and disappointing heartbreaks. I recommend it to anyone, especially those interested in serving low-income communities.
Easily 5 out of 5 stars! Inspiring, thought-provoking, well-written! What every American citizen needs to read! I could barely put it down.
This is one of the better memoirs I have read. I don't know how he did/does everything and still has time for his family, but I like the author's "voice." This is a good story about a doctor who works with homeless kids, teens, and young adults. Being around the homeless a bit at the public library helped me not to idealize them when I was reading, though you don't really understand unless you've seen it. It is so heartbreaking that so many (probably most) of the kids were on the streets because...more
Randy Christensen's work in Phoenix is inspiring, and I enjoyed learning about the Crews'n Healthmobile program. The book doesn't go into great detail about the logistics of the program (i.e. start-up, administrative details, etc.) but provides enough detail for insight and understanding, and I appreciated this. Instead, he focuses more on his interactions with homeless youth. These stories include both joys and heartbreak. Working with at-risk individuals can be so incredibly rewarding. But it...more
This book was like being on a roller coaster. It had great highs and many more lows. The one constant was the love, dedication, and tenacity of Dr Christensen to provide services to homeless children in AZ. The book points out the frustration of not being able to help these children because they don't have the proper credentials and can't get them due to their homelessness. What a Catch 22. This was especially true of those with mental health issues and jail seemed to be the only way to get eval...more
This was on my to-read list for months, but I'd been avoiding it because I was afraid that it would be universal healthcare propaganda. Don't get me wrong- I'm all for something that makes people better, as long as it has a reasonable funding plan. I'd also like unlimited shoes, but someone has to pay for it.

Anyway, I feel like there are very few books that focus on the altruistic efforts of one or a few people that aren't completely self-glorifying. This one isn't.

I'm not going to spell out a s...more
What a great read! Dr. Randy operates a medically-equipped RV that travels around the Phoenix area treating homeless teens.

The stories were heartbreaking to read; what these kids have dealt with is horrific. Many were kicked out by their families - one teen noted the irony of his father being killed by a drunk driver to being kicked out of his own home by his mother's alcoholic boyfriend - many suffer from mental illnesses, all are suffering because no one wants them and no one seems to care ab...more
Pamela Barrett
Dr. Christensen was 34 when he started the mobile medical unit in Arizona to help homeless youth. The hospital on wheels, actually a van that needed more than a little tweaking to work, was donated, but getting it functioning and stocked was an exercise in patience. Luckily he had great people on his side, including Jan Putman, a no nonsense nurse-practitioner, and his wife Amy, also a doctor, who understood him putting in long hours. Ask Me Why I Hurt chronicles the beginning of the mobile medi...more
Ask Me Why I Hurt was one of the most poignant memoirs I have ever read. Dr. Randy Christensen is the kind of person we should all look up to. His deep commitment to helping the homeless children is something I deeply admire. I can't tell you how many times I cried reading his story. There were tears of sadness, frustration, and happiness.

He opened my eyes to the realities that homeless children face every day. I loved how he followed a few of them as they found homes and made better lives for t...more
let me preface this review by saying that i used to work at a shelter for homeless youth. thus i found christensen's story intriguing.

he is a doctor that has set up a mobile unit in the phoenix and surrounding areas for homeless youth under the age of 25.

he discusses the highs and lows of setting up the practice and of learning how to assistance these transient youth.

these are kids that fall through the cracks and are abused sexually, physically and mentally. not all of the stories end in trag...more
Megan Palasik
I received this book as a first reads giveaway ARC edition.

This book was wonderful. I can’t remember ever reading a book that I wish had been LONGER when I was done with it. I wish Dr. Randy could have included more stories and more information of his life working on the Big Blue van. I enjoy reading memoirs and books about children and I work in a human services profession, so this book was right up my alley.

Dr. Randy is a physician who, after completing his medical training decides he wants to...more
A Book Vacation
I won this book from Goodreads First Reads, February 20th, 2011.

Ten years, and 7,000 patients later, Randy Christensen pens his memoir of life helping “the kids nobody wants.” In 2000, Christensen, along with the help of his colleagues and funding from businesses, started a mobile home clinic in hopes of reaching the homeless children of Phoenix. Originally under the belief that he could help all his patients better their lives, Christensen shares his experiences, frustrations, heartache, and t...more
Dr. Christensen is my new hero for his commitment to serving homeless children (and Katrina survivors) from mobile medical units. The writing itself, while neither earth-shattering nor brilliant, is at least clear and serves the purpose of explaining, without bias or sentimentality, how a handful of very committed professionals were able to outfit an old rv with donated medical equipment and supplies in order to offer health care to homeless children in Arizona. It was easy to become very invest...more
I read this book via First Reads. I was interested in the story of Randy Christensen, who successfully runs a mobile van to provide medical services for homeless children. He told the story over 10 years, beginning with the start-up process to the present. He includes all of the pitfalls, i.e. 80 hour work weeks, having the van break down, and losing funding.

The most interesting aspects of the book are vignettes about the kids he meets. He effectively illustrates the problems that lead children...more
I won a pre-published version of this book through a goodreads giveaway, and I will definitely be recommending this book once it comes out in April. I don't think it would be overly dramatic to say that this book changed me. Dr. Christensen's stories of the homeless that he saw and treated and his never-ending passion for helping them were deeply affecting. Ask Me Why I Hurt touched me, inspired me, and gave me a real perspective on our nation's homeless children. I thought that Christensen mast...more
I was excited to receive an early edition of Ask Me Why I Hurt from Goodreads and I am happy to give the book a positive review. This personal memoir is written by a Dr. Christensen after his tenth year of serving the homeless adolescent population from a mobile medical unit. It is so tempting when you read about a great humanitarian like Randy Christensen, to imagine that he must have an easy, personal life which makes such sacrifice feasible; however, Dr. Christensen is candid about the immens...more
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