Loving Strays

between hope and fear

Poetry - Love/Romance
101 Pages
Reviewed on 09/19/2023
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Author Biography

Franco Cardiello is a confessional poet from New York. After living in the juvenile justice system, he earned his master's in clinical social work, and adolescent and family therapy from Fordham University. Franco is a licensed counselor who teaches cathartic writing. Self-reflective writing explores mental health, healing, and the endless interpretations of love. He hopes to offer solace to readers.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ann Linus for Readers' Favorite

A stray is one who is lost, having no proper place or company. The stray in this collection recalls his encounters with love and passion and his attempt to flee from both whenever the freedom and peace of solitude came calling. He has had lovers—a sweet girl, an older woman, an ignorant lady, the single mother, the rich upper-class girl, the dirty blonde—but he never stays long enough for happily ever after. His unwillingness to settle results from troubled early years of abuse, homelessness, and incarceration. Most of the time, the women are oblivious to the chaos raging within him, but every lover is a new experience and perspective on life. Loving Strays by Franco Cardiello reminds me of the song “Soso,” in which the artist begs his lover to take away his pain.

Loving Strays is a collection rife with emotions and experiences. I felt the sincerity and passion in each poem as I wondered about the people who inspired them. I loved the simple structure and language used for this collection. Every poem is a new free verse story, infused with nuances and humor. The poems explored the themes of identity, juvenile delinquency, and the muddy waters of adult relationships. I see this collection as an ode to the many lovers who embraced the stray character. I enjoyed this cathartic collection and appreciate Franco Cardiello’s creative expression. I recommend this book to a mature audience because of certain language and its overriding subject matter.