Review by Claire J. Baker
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To contact the author, Linda Ross Swanson, call 503-267-7550. Or visit her website here.
[dropcap]L[/dropcap]inda Ross Swanson, the author of Wisdom Under the Bridge: The Prophets from Skid Row, believes that each person is a story waiting to be told. Her book of 300-plus pages tells the often rugged stories of stubborn survivors of heinous emotional and physical conditions and events, as found on skid row in Portland, Oregon.
This page-turner is challenging. Most of us don’t live in dire poverty and deprivation, nor do we suffer disregard, and even condemnation by our families and communities. The homeless or nearly un-homed suffer a marginal existence. But, as shown in this book, their lives are not totally without hope or resurrection of the spirit if they hang in.
About twelve prophets of skid row, Portland, were interviewed and proved brave enough to delve soul-deep to reveal their “living legacy.” It has taken about five years to gather and tweak these life stories into short vital chapters, one for each prophet. I’m proud that a poem of mine was included, by request. Wish more poets knew of this outreach and had contributed.
Reading this book, I re-learned that one can be saved by one’s guts, by the grace of God and pastoral helpers, by kindness, love, shelter in time of need and a good dinner — whatever it takes for a particular person and/or set of circumstances.
Linda Ross Swanson is a highly credentialed pastoral counselor dedicated to social justice and resources for hope, and her book is a fine addition to literature on the disadvantaged. To see her website click here.
Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, said, “Rather than breaking readers’ hearts with the tragic and the terrible, Wisdom Under the Bridge: the Prophets from Skid Row is a book about overcoming adversity, finding hope, and welcoming peace. With keen insight and spiritual acumen, Swanson opens readers’ eyes to the disenfranchised grief that recovering alcoholics and addicts on the street endure. Swanson makes clear that God imbues all of us with wisdom and insight on our long journey toward wholeness. Wisdom Under the Bridge convinces readers that the rich tapestry of humanity is comprised of everyone’s story, without exclusion.”