Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Cathy reviews Gotta Find A Home by Dennis Cardiff

Today’s book review comes from team member Cathy, she blogs at


Cathy chose to read and review Gotta Find A Home by Dennis Cardiff


This is a non fictional story of a group of homeless people in a Canadian city from the perspective of the man who befriended them. Documented in diary format Dennis Cardiff catalogues the conversations he has with the various panhandlers, which brings home the reality of people who are forced, for one reason or another, into a life on the streets. These accounts show just how people’s lives and personalities can be and are formed by past traumas in the form of abuse, addiction and mental and physical disorders.

The conversations throughout the book demonstrate the sense of community among the group and the very noticeably differing personalities, each having their own stories and set of circumstances, and all the while helping the reader to see them as people in their own right, with real feelings and needs, struggling to survive against the odds.

Ian – “I didn’t know what to do. I was homeless and didn’t have any way to get to the hospital, so I phoned Alcoholics Anonymous. They said they would send someone to pick me up and stay with me in the hospital. I was unconscious for three days.”

Shark – “I’ve been sick. I’ve had a lot of pain in my legs, my right hip and my shoulders from my HIV. Morphine makes me sick. I take the pills and sometimes they stay down, most time they come right back up. Marijuana and booze work better than the morphine.”

Hippo – “I slept outside last night, under the bridge. There is an exhaust fan overhead, I’ve got a good sleeping bag, the weather was mild so it wasn’t too bad.I’ve had it with the shelters. It’s really bad there now, mostly crack heads. Things get stolen, it’s noisy, fights start, there are bedbugs. I’d like to get a clean place that’s quiet, no bugs and a lock on the door.”

This book tells it like it is, with no frills, and it is a challenging read. Not only because of the plight of the street people but also the way they are viewed and judged by the general public and more often than not, ignored. It’s something I imagine most of us, including myself, are guilty of. Dennis Cardiff tackles the issue in a completely constructive way by offering food, a bus ticket or coffee on daily basis and gradually getting to know the street people. It all started one morning as he was walking to work and saw a woman sitting on the sidewalk. He didn’t know quite what he should do, if anything. A friend advised him to offer her food and coffee and so began a morning ritual which evolved into a life changing experience for the author.

Joy fell on hard times. She slept behind a dumpster in back of the coffee shop. I saw her with blackened eyes, bruised legs, cracked ribs, cut and swollen lips.

Joy – “My boyfriend punched me in the face. I’m covered in bruises, my ribs are in bad shape and I’ve been coughing blood….He’s ok when he’s sober, but when he drinks he gets crazy.”

This is a unique insight into homelessness and the views of some of the people who live on the streets. Dennis Cardiff doesn’t try to explain why they are homeless or suggest solutions, he just offers his time, friendship and a willingness to listen.

Find a copy here from or

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Karen reviews Gotta Find A Home by Dennis Cardiff

Today’s book review comes from Karen, she blogs at


Karen chose to read and review Gotta Find A Home – Conversations with Street People by Dennis Cardiff


My Opinion

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.

Find a copy here from or

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Elizabeth reviews Gotta Find A Home by Dennis Cardiff

Today’s book review comes from Elizabeth, she blogs at


Elizabeth chose to read and review, Gotta Find A Home by Dennis Cardiff


Here is her review.

Gotta Find a Home by Dennis Cardiff

From whatever country we come, we are used to seeing homeless people in our cities begging. It is easy to be judgemental, frightened or indifferent but we often forget that they are human beings. Dennis Cardiff is not like that. He makes daily visits to a group of homeless people in his Canadian city to talk to them and maybe buy them a snack. For several years he has kept a journal of these encounters on his blog “Gotta Find Home” and this book is an edited version of this.

I was hoping for a compilation of the conversations with a particular character building up a coherent biography of people like Joy, who slept behind a dumpster and was often beaten up or of Antonio, the small gentle man who slept on a bench in the freezing cold but Dennis Cardiff has stuck to a simple recount of each conversation as it occurred.

The “usual subjects” as Dennis calls his friends on the streets do gradually stamp out their identity in these conversations and we learn some of their back story but perhaps because this is real life and Dennis is determined not to interfere there is no clear timeline of their life events to explain their current predicament.

In an interview at the end of the book Dennis concludes that although many suffer from mental and physical illness and a great many were abused when younger there is no one reason why they are homeless. He does not offer a solution to the problem, but following Buddhist principals to, “open one’s heart and practice generosity,” he gives his time and a listening ear to them.

This book is not an easy read but it does help to increase our understanding by its honest and frank account of the lives of this group of homeless people.

Find a copy here from or all profits go towards helping the homeless.

Good Deeds Challenge – Year 2, Week 17

Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year, now I an into my second year.

New Good DeedsDuring my week I’ll also being updating you on My Kindness Challenge which I’m also doing. I read about a new challenge to make the world a better place to live in. “Speak Kind Words, Receive Kind Echoes” see the inspiration on  The Kindness blog . During my learning process I’m donating money to charity for my slip-ups to make me work harder to achieve results. I earn no money from any of my book reviews, so having little to spare should focus my mind.

This week I’ve been doing the following;

August 10th – Have been drafting up Romancing September posts, and a book review post. Had a lovely chat to the student who served me at the supermarket till about his new course he’ll soon be starting at University, made time to be interested in what he had to say.

August 11th – I’ve been spending my Amazon vouchers on books! Some for me and others to share with family and friends. I’ve read some great books in e-format which I would like to share with others, so today I bought Saving our Pennys and The Singing Bowl by Roy Dimond in paperback. I’m also looking forward to re-reading them. Both books really impressed me and got me thinking about life and I wanted to share them with others.

Augustt 12th – It’s been a hard day today, I posted my 3* review of a book for an author who took offence, ( 3* stars! I said there were parts I liked! Get a reality check) I have already put up with a rude e-mail and he has added a vile comment on Goodreads to my review. He posted a equally bullying comment on my blog which I removed. My review stays because I will not bow down to an author who behaves this badly. My book review policy clearly states “I’ll never try to degrade an author or their hard work, but we all have our own tastes, so please RESPECT MINE. Should you dislike my review, then we will have to agree to disagree. Any further ranting about it especially on any of my social sites will not help your cause.” Not clear enough for some people it would seem. The kindness challenge has gone out of the window today and the charity box is firmly closed, I will not pay out my money in this  situation, sorry, I will try harder tomorrow.

Good Deeds received ; Thank you everyone for you support at this trying time.

I’m pleased to say it hasn’t put me off reviewing, I have sent of a review for a lovely YA book Spirit Warriors; The Scarring by Della Connor. As you know I do like a book that has a bit of ghosts and spiritual connections, so this book was right up my street. I have also taken on 3 more books for review today.

August 13th – I’ve bought another book today, my Amazon vouchers have nearly all gone! Isn’t it a lovely feeling to just splurge sometimes? Today I bought How I Changed My Life In A Year by Shelley Wilson . Helped author Charles Yallowitz spread news of his book tour for his latest book The Compass Key I’ve signed up for a day and e-mailed a few others to ask if they can help out. Added a new book to the book review team list, this one is a little different and proceeds will go to those living on the streets. Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People by Dennis Cardiff

Good deeds received: An apology from the author who had his temper tantrum of my 3* review.

August 14th – Have nearly finished all 30 drafts for the Romancing September Tour. Downloaded a free book from Author Rae Rivers who will be one of our guests on the tour, a quick prequel to her series, The Keepers: Sienna. Sent my youngest child out on a play date with chocolate cakes to share.

August 15th – A couple of friends birthdays today so we are off to deliver presents and best wishes. Wished another friends son good luck with his driving theory test tomorrow. My oldest is learning to drive too and so are many of her friends, its all the next step in growing up. A bit scary though, sitting in the passenger seat and not being in control of the car while she learns.

August 16th – Started a good tidy up of the house and garden, to help reflect the need to tidy up my life. Started reading Patriot by A.S Bond ready for a book review. Drafted up a couple more posts for later in the month.