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A Gift of Hope


Review by Nancy Brannon

Most horse people have a huge heart when it comes to caring for others, especially horses and other animals, including people. The spirit of the “holiday season” from Thanksgiving to the New Year focuses our attention on giving selflessly, and the traditional Dickens A Christmas Carol brings that spirit to light. In this book review, I diverge a bit from horse books to bring you a poignant book about selfless giving.

While I’ve never been a Danielle Steel fan, when I saw her book A Gift of Hope: Helping the Homeless in the non-fiction section of the library, it caught my eye! Many years ago, as adjunct faculty at the University of Memphis, I used to teach a course on Social Problems. The homeless population was one of the subjects covered and, using the research on this population, I debunked the myths many people hold about them and explained the realities of their condition. In her book, Steel records her personal inspiration for helping others and her experiences fulfilling, partially and as best she could, the needs of those referred to as “less fortunate.” She does it without seeming too self-congratulatory and portrays the people she serves in realistic terms, without stereotyping and prejudice. I think you’ll find her account both heart-warming and heart-wrenching. Perhaps it will inspire you to join in the spirit of giving selflessly.

While Steel’s focus is on the personal, the anecdotal, she does not elaborate on the societal reasons for homelessness. As we so often blame the victim, it helps to look at the larger picture – the societal level. Bob Ivry posted a detailed, informative article at about the mortgage lending practices, the earnings gap, and the economic factors that account for an increasing homeless population, with a particular emphasis on Memphis, TN. Read it at:

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