Jim O’Connell seems like a person who is too good to be true, but he’s for real. After his medical residency he was talked into spending a year treating the homeless in Boston. For Jim, a year became a lifetime. With the help of other very compassionate individuals, he set up medical clinics for the homeless as well as apartments, shelters and a van that reaches out to those who will not or cannot come get any and all kinds of help. The work is exhausting, often ungratifying, but Jim and his team are so inspiring. The title of Kidder’s book is a term people in the know use to describe those homeless people who live out of doors.
Tracy Kidder also spends part of Rough Sleepers describing in detail a handful of homeless people. The reader sees rough sleepers as individuals with a history, not just a lump under a blanket. Like his excellent work of nonfiction, Mountains Beyond Mountains, Kidder proves that one person can make a difference.