Reviewed by Alyssa Katanic

“Wow!” That was my first reaction to Dr. Randy Christensen’s autobiography, Ask Me Why I Hurt. For so many of us, the life of a homeless teenager (and what brought them to homelessness) is far beyond our worst imaginings. I admit, when I picked up this book I half expected a somewhat triumphal read detailing the fairytale endings they were able to reach. Let’s just say that the reality is definitely more towards the grim and does not always end with a “happily ever after” … but, sometimes it does.

Ask Me Why I Hurt is an eye-opening read on many different levels. The most obvious is the work of Dr. Christensen and his crew on the “Big Blue Bus” (the Crews’n Healthmobile) with the homeless teens of the Phoenix, Arizona area. Dr. Christensen also gives us a very personal glimpse into the real life of a doctor/husband/father: how he views his work, the time and emotion it requires, and the effects of that on his relationship with his wife and children. He is very candid and the transparency is refreshing.

Many of the stories of the teens with whom Dr. Christensen works are emotionally hard to get through. Their daily lives, and the childhood events that lead them there, will blow you away and leave you with a deeper understanding and compassion for them and those like them in your area. I am sure that Ask Me Why I Hurt is still just the tip of the iceberg, as far as what these children, and many like them, go through. I would not say, however, that it was emotionally draining to read. Instead, it stirs up the desire to love those around us, protect them, and look for ways to reach out to others. At the end of the book, Dr. Christensen includes a list of organizations through which you can do just that.

Rating: 5/5

Alyssa is a wife and stay at home, homeschooling mother of five, with two boxers, two cats, a soft shelled turtle named after Bob the Builder, and 7 frogs (admittedly a homeschooling project gone froggy). In all her spare time, she loves to read and believes that there is no such thing as having too many books!

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Broadway. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.