Broadman & Holman
Squat, by Taylor Field, is a fictionalized interpretation of the author's experiences working as a missionary to homeless people. The objective of Field's first novel is to bring the problem of homelessness to the attention of those who have an address, a checkbook, and a conscience.
Field attempts to emphasize the point that everybody had a home once and was just like his readers. But the thought processes of his characters and their shocking way of life make them difficult to comprehend that fact. Perhaps Field's point is better delivered in a nonfiction work, such his previous award-winning book, Mercy Streets.
Field's characters are difficult to relate to, which makes it an awkward read. Wading through a swamp of slang, violence, irrational thoughts, and hopelessness makes it nearly impossible for the reader to confront the problem of homelessness head-on, which is Field's intention. The concept of the book—a look at 24 hours in the life of a homeless person—would be better delivered as a nonfiction account of that time in the life of an actual homeless man, instead of a composite fictional character. Taylor Field has the best intentions with this book, but the fanciful fictionalization may get in the way of his ultimate purpose. – Meg D. R. Tepfer, Christian Book Previews.com
“We live in a squat. We don’t know squat. We don’t have squat. We don’t do squat. We don’t give a squat. People say we’re not worth squat.”
In the shadow of Wall Street’s wealth, homeless people with names like Squid, Saw, and Bonehead live in abandoned buildings known as “squats” where life is hand to mouth, where fear and violence fester. The light in Squid’s obsessive-compulsive mind’s eye is Rachel, a loving soup kitchen missionary who tells him about faith and unfaith, hypocrisy and justice, the character of God and finding identity in Him. And in the wild twenty-four-hour passage of literary time that is Squat, Squid begins to believe that his life may actually amount to something.