book review,  Writing

Book Review: An Invisible Thread By Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski

In the last few posts I have read and reviewed: the plight of women in Ascent of Women by Sally Armstrong, I tried to organize the chaos that is my desk with The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and I followed a refugee from Vietnam to Canada in the fiction work Ru by Kim Thuy.

I wanted to read something real and uplifting. I got that and more from reading An Invisible Thread, by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski.
I happened upon this book quite by accident. I was searching for another title to review online and when I clicked on the other book (which will remain a secret until I review it) it suggested other titles that people liked.
The premise was catchy enough, memoir, hardworking and successful woman in Manhattan meets eleven year-old panhandler. And they change their lives forever.
I was thinking along the lines like The Blind Side, by Michael Lewis. But when I started to read, this was no Blind Side. There was a lot of darkness for both Laura and the young Maurice. This book held nothing back.
Laura grew up in a verbally and physically abusive household. Her father, Nunzie, had a violent drinking problem that cast a shadow on the family. Laura, her mother and her siblings lived in fear of his next drunken outburst. Laura never felt safe in her own home.
Maurice was born to drug dealing parents in Brooklyn. All his life he went from one bug infested government project to the next. Maurice’s life was filled with people selling drugs, or taking them, and ignoring him. He was hit by his uncles and his father, and his mother was so high all the time it was a wonder she ever knew he existed.
A chance meeting between the two when Maurice held out his small hand and asked Laura for some change. At first, she walks by.
This is what society has taught us to do. Faces forward and keep walking, but something deep down urged her to go back. She turned around and came face to face with the panhandler. She took in his dirty, tattered clothes and unwashed face.  When Maurice plucked enough courage to ask Laura a little louder this time for some spare change, Laura had another plan in mind.
Laura took him to McDonald’s.
I have to admit, I have walked by homeless people before. Especially when I am alone. Now, there are a good deal of people that are homeless because of drug or alcohol addiction. Their panhandling feeding their addictions- this is not anything I would want to encourage.
Mental illness plagues some as well. Genetically or induced by years of drug or alcohol abuse.  But there are a percentage of homeless people that are just in bad situations.
Maurice was one of these kids. Waiting at home were numerous bad situations. His mother, his uncles and his grandmother were all drug abusers. Maurice, like Laura, never felt safe. With that first act of kindness that was shown led to a life altering course for Maurice. To this day Maurice is quoted in saying that Laura “saved his life”.
I think this book speaks to society’s ability to come together as communities and help each other.  Gone are the days that neighborhoods celebrated holidays together and helped each other out.  The days when you went to meet the new neighbour when they moved in with a baked treat and a friendly hello, are also gone.
I must say that when my husband and I along with our thirteen month old son moved into our first house, I was delighted that our lovely neighbor came over with three gingerbread men to welcome us to our new home. I can say this now that people have come and gone from our little block and no more baked goodies have been offered.
Even in suburbia, have we forgot how to trust?
I felt that this book was very honest. Laura not only wrote about the relationship and how much it helped Maurice, but about the failures.
Divorce, loss of a parent and the true feeling of fear in your own home.
Laura and Maurice were lucky to find each other. Upon finishing the book I felt that I had known them for years. If I met either of them I would not only greet them with a handshake, but also a hug.
This is how closely connected you feel to their story.  With a blockbuster ending, this book should be near the top of your to-read pile.  Laura and Maurice’s tale has inspired me to be the best parent I can be. Knowing that all children dream of is a safe home, to be visible and to never be left feeling hungry, I can make sure that my three kids have this wish always fulfilled.