Jennifer's Reviews > Ask Me Why I Hurt: The Kids Nobody Wants and the Doctor Who Heals Them

Ask Me Why I Hurt by Randy Christensen
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Jun 13, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: memoir-biography, social-justice, books-i-would-like-to-own
Read on July 14, 2012

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 can also bring tears and heartache. Dr. Christensen's journey with coming to terms with the fact that he cannot help everyone is touching. Those of us in helping professions will always remember those I call "the ones who got away." They change your life forever, and often drive you to work harder. Dr. Christensen says (p. 139) "This was the hardest part, I thought. There were going to be times I couldn't help everyone. I knew if I dwelled on these losses, I could become incapable of helping the next child. At least that is what I told myself." With many of the youth mentioned in Ask Me Why I Hurt, you learn what became of them. But not all of his stories are like this - there are youth he mentions who simply disappear from the book, and this is because they disappear from his life too. I don't know about Dr. Christensen, but these are usually people who haunt my thoughts the most as I wonder what has become of them and how they are doing...

This book is more than Randy Christensen's work with homeless youth in Phoenix; it's a touching book about balancing your life calling (i.e. career) and those who love and support you. Beyond his work, Dr. Christensen also spends much time in the book describing how his home life was impacted by his work and, just as importantly, how his home life affected his professional outlook. As someone who works in social justice issues, I really appreciated his insight - how his marriage was impacted by his demanding job, the support of his family, etc. In the work that I do, I am blessed to have a husband who supports all that I do, and Dr. Christensen's candidness on his struggles with being present at home as a father and a husband was really important for me to read.
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