Sunday, September 03, 2006

Taylor Field's Squat ~ Reviewed

By Taylor Field
Published by B&H Publishing GroupISBN: 0805432922

Twenty-year old Squid lives in a "squat", an abandoned building, blocks from Wall Street. He lives an uneventful life within the homeless subculture, abiding by its own particular codes of conduct.

But now, he's violated a fundamental principle-he's stolen cash from another street person named Saw. A violent and unpredictable drug dealer, Saw has placed a bounty on Squid's life. For the cash-strapped homeless, the promise of cash if they deliver Squid is more than they can resist.

For twenty four hours, Squid is on the run, out thinking and out maneuvering the hunters. But his obsession with the mission worker Rachel is his downfall. Trapped in an abandoned alley he knows he must fight a fight he's guaranteed to lose.

Taylor Field has an M. Div from Princeton and a Ph. D. from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. He has worked in New York's inner city since 1986 and is able to bring a unique perspective to his story.

At three hundred pages, "Squat" isn't a long read, but it is a compelling glimpse into a subculture most Americans chose to ignore. Since the book covers a twenty four hour time period, the pace is quick, and that is a bit of a drawback. I was never pulled into the story, but watched it unfold from the sidelines.

But Squid, at times, did strike a chord. Squid is on the streets by both choice and circumstance. He left home years ago to escape his mother's abusive boyfriend, and is now trapped in a cycle. The one thing Squid longs for is to be seen as important and worth remembering. He wants people to look past his obsessive compulsive tendencies and the stereotype of the streets to see him for who he is.

In short, he wants to be important enough to someone that they will remember him when he's gone. Just like anyone else.

All of the book's royalties will be donated to Graffiti Community Ministries, Inc, the service arm of the East Street Baptist Church, aka Graffiti. You can visit the website at:

Review by Cheryl Russell

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