After Reading Four Feet Under

《Four Feet Under》读后感 HSK 5-6

Finishing reading this book was a long drag. In the beginning, I read it fast, non-stopped, with passion and curiosity. It goes one story by another story, like building up a pyramid somehow. Gradually, I find it harder and harder to get by with all the stories, all the misfortunes for these homeless people in the book. Here is why:


The author started with her own misfortune, related to the selling of her childhood house, which made her thinking of the golden old days that would never come back. Is that what triggered her to write this book? Possibly. I find the “connection” a bit off or reluctant. 


What made it worse was in the very end, when the author stated in a sort of summary about her own interviewing questions with such a self-satisfactory manner-


“And I wasn’t, for the most part, trying to challenge people’s views, so if someone said, ‘I have no money but I’m free, I can go where I want,’ I wouldn’t say, ‘But you’re not really free then, are you, because you can’t actually afford to go anywhere,’ because that might have made them feel stupid or belittled. ”


【Excerpt From: Tamsen Courtenay. “Four Feet Under: Untold Stories of Homelessness in London”. Apple Books. 】

In my opinion, these should not be mentioned in such a manner. The author gave very good interviews and she is sympathetic as well, but mentioning this would be to superfluous, and even it looks like she is belittling them. 


The non-fiction book itself is a good idea, especially it was crowdfunded, but it could be so much better when it is well connected to the author’s own reason of writing it, at least not the reasons now in the book.


At last, this book successfully let me view this world from the perspective of “Four Feet Under”, and the bleak scene sneaks out from every interview. So do their previous stories. We could say, it is always bad decisions or bad luck, but how we view them, those people sitting and sleeping on the icy street should be altered.