Title: An Invisible Thread: The true story of an 11-uear-old panhandler, a busy sales executive, and an unlikely meeting with destiny.
Author: Laura Schroff with Alex Tresniowski
Publisher: Howard Books
Synopsis (from bn.com):
Stopping was never part of the plan . . .
She was a successful ad sales rep in Manhattan. He was a homeless, eleven-year-old panhandler on the street. He asked for spare change; she kept walking. But then something stopped her in her tracks, and she went back. And she continued to go back, again and again. They met up nearly every week for years and built an unexpected, life-changing friendship that has today spanned almost three decades.
Whatever made me notice him on that street corner so many years ago is clearly something that cannot be extinguished, no matter how relentless the forces aligned against it. Some may call it spirit. Some may call it heart. It drew me to him, as if we were bound by some invisible, unbreakable thread. And whatever it is, it binds us still.
My thoughts: My book club picked this book for it’s July read. Honestly, I had never even heard of it before and now am very glad I read it.
That being said, this is one of those books that really makes you think and really makes you think about things from two different sides.
Laura Schroff, successful magazine sales executive, runs into 11-year-old Maurice on the streets panhandling for some change for food. At first she simply walks by, and then for some unknown reason she feels the need to turn back and take Maurice to lunch. A simple moment, a simple decision that ultimately changes both of their lives forever. Laura continues to meet Maurice for lunch every Monday for almost three years and develops a special relationship with him over the years.
On the one hand, this book is an absolutley beautiful journey of two disparate souls learning from one another. Two people from completely different walks of life finding what they need from each other. Maurice, the little boy from a poor, drug-ridden family learns from Laura what it is like to be cared for, to trust, to take responsiblity, and to work hard. Laura, the successful New York professional, explores and comes to terms with her own abusive history.
Perhaps its the counselor side of me, but the other part of me just couldn’t get out of my head that wasn’t there a way for this responsible adult to take better steps for this child like calling protective services, getting into a more stable environment. She knew he went back to a home of drug abuse, filth, and no food, yet continued to meet him and then he went on his way home. My mind also questions, “Wasn’t this all sort of weird, in terms of an adult inviting this 11-year-old child repeatedly back to her house, and taking him places, clearly with no mean intent, but knowing that she could get in quite a bit of trouble?” In fairness, the author does admit multiple times in the book that she noted these feelings as well in terms of how odd this looks, and if she was ultimately doing him more harm than good in the long run.
All in all, the book was very reminiscent of “The Soloist” for me, where the LA Times reporter meets the schizophrenic man in the park, who ends up to be at one time a very skilled violinist and cellist. They end up developing a relationship and the reporter tries to get the man involved in his music again and get him assistance for his mental illness. I ultimately was more moved by “The Soloist” as it involved an adult and not an innocent child.
All in all a very inspirational, thought-provoking read, however my nagging questions took some of the thrill of it away for me. I will admit that the actual writing was a bit simplistic and ridiculous at times.
A decent read if you are looking for a heart-warming read. It begs the question, are we destined to meet certain people at a certain time in our lives – are we connected by an invisible thread?
Books Are Life,