Rosellians Cheer Hometown Author Steve Cole’s Citizen Cárdenas
Amazon Reviews of Citizen Cárdenas by Roselle, NJ Friends
Meet your homeless neighbors–Robin Levine (ACHS Class of 1966) on May 12, 2016
Citizen Cárdenas is a engaging tale that plunged me into the world of Chicago’s homeless citizens and the city politics that hold influence over their lives. Told from multiple viewpoints, including that of the middle class couple that tries to help, the story unfolds in surprising ways that kept me turning the pages and wondering what interesting and colorful character I was to meet next and how he or she would be connected to the cast of characters I had already gotten to know. Using both chess metaphors and poetry, this is a book both entertaining and informative vis a vis the stories behind the plight of the homeless, those who try to help and those who whether intentionally or unintentionally cause more harm to an already vulnerable segment of our population. It is a book to be enjoyed for its characters but, like all good fiction, offered me an opportunity to look a little deeper the next time I encounter a homeless person on the street. Although there are Christian and religious references, as someone who is neither Christian nor religious, I’d characterize the book as more about the human condition than any religious doctrine. Or put more simply, if you are interested in understanding more about your homeless neighbors, this book is a good place to start. Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Just finished reading this first novel by an old family friend and fellow Roselle-ian, Steve Cole. Steve’s storytelling grabs your attention and curiosity from the first paragraph and then holds it through to the very end as he takes you on a rollercoaster ride through the ups and downs that comprise Jesus Cárdenas’ life. You will laugh and cry and wonder at the breadth, depth, and complexities of the human soul and how inextricably connected we are to one another! A powerful lesson in love and friendship! Thanks Steve for a great read!
In his novel, Citizen Cárdenas, Steve Cole writes with honesty and clarity about a homeless man who confronts and attempts to navigate through the politics and red tape of the welfare system. Gato Cárdenas’ life intersects with those of George and Alexia Demas who come to his aid with knowledge, sensitivity, and sheer kindness. Gato is a Cuban alcoholic homeless man trying to survive and maintain dignity. The book is discouraging and uplifting at the same time; a story of alienation and community that teaches us that we are, indeed, our brothers’ keepers.
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