The author sent me a copy of this book (mobi format) in exchange for an honest review (member of Rosie’s Book Review Team).
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Writing about the homeless and helping the homeless, has given my life a purpose that it didn’t have before. Documenting their stories will, I hope, introduce them to the public in a non-threatening way. Some panhandlers look intimidating, but that disappears when one sees them laugh.
A typical day for me involves taking the bus and walking two blocks to work. I pass Joy’s spot every day. I usually sit and talk with her for twenty to thirty minutes. Chester and Hippo may drop by to chat.
Most afternoons, depending on weather, I walk two blocks to the park where the group of panhandlers varies in size from two to twenty or more. They don’t panhandle at the park. Like a soap opera, every day is different; some scenarios will carry over a few days or weeks. People will disappear for weeks or months due illness, rehab programs or incarceration.
When I met Joy I was going through an emotional crisis. Meeting her and her friends – worrying about them and whether or not they would be able to eat and find a place to sleep – took my mind off my problems, that then, seemed insignificant. It was – is – truly a life changing experience.
Genre: Non-fiction, society
…She had the most angelic face, sparkling blue eyes and a beautiful smile. A cap was upturned in front of her. I thought, ‘There but for the grace of God go I.’ Her smile and blue eyes haunted me all day.
In the past I’ve been unemployed, my wife and I were unable to pay our mortgage and other bills, we went through bankruptcy, lost our house, my truck. Being in my fifties, my prospects looked dim. It could have been me, on the sidewalk, in her place.
The book introduces you to author Dennis Cardiff explaining how it all began, and to the conversations with his ‘Usual Suspects’, a number of street people. I will not tell you more about the story than shown in the Goodreads plot description. This is a book that would like to be read by all of you – individually.
With Gotta Find A Home, Dennis Cardiff has created a quite different and heart-warming chronological collection of conversations. The conversations are often brief, offer insights in the homeless’ lives. The author cares about his protagonists, proves with his book that the homeless are human – a fact which non-street people tend to forget. Street people and non-street people face similar challenges: community, bills, relationships, addictions, etc. Gotta Find A Home is an important reminder that we are all human, making mistakes, and the ability to making things right. There is no reason to beat up a homeless person. If it doesn’t feel right to ‘donate’ money, why not follow Dennis Cardiff’s example to offer a bus ticket or a coffee voucher? The Buddhist approach – respect for the living is a great concept. I soon felt acquainted with the ‘Usual Suspects’, wanted to know what was next. Gotta Find A Home is a great read for those who are interested in humanity and/or the human factor.
This is a book to read again. The upcoming volumes are already on my TBR (‘to be read’) list.
About the author
Dennis Cardiff lives with his wife in Ottawa, Canada. They each have two grown sons from previous marriages. An artist of many talents, Cardiff has been a professional portrait painter since 1972. He studied art at the Ontario College of Art, University of Saskatchewan and the University of Ottawa. As a writer, his poetry has been published in the Sheaf, the University of Saskatchewan’s newspaper, the Writing.com Anthology and an online poetry magazine, Shadowlands Express. His recent book “Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People” (book 1 of 4) was published by Karenzo Media. Books 2 and 3 are currently at the publishers, and the 4th book of the series will be available in January 2015.
Connect with the Author:
Please take a look at my statement on reading in My train of thoughts on …reading. Now I am asking you. 🙂
My questions for you bibliophiles:
What about you? What did you think about Gotta Find A Home? Or – if you did not yet read Gotta Find A Home – are you now interested in reading it yourself?
I am looking forward to reading your comments. 🙂