Wendy suggested this month’s book and I enjoyed it tremendously. Such an inspiring tale to be told. Don’t forget to check out what Wendy says about An Invisible Thread.
An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11 year-old panhandler, a busy sales executive, and an unlikely meeting with destiny
by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski
A busy, noisy street corner in New York is not exactly the place where you imagine life changing for ever. But it did for Laura and Maurice one Monday afternoon. Maurice was begging for a small amount of change, enough to get something, anything, to eat. Laura walked past but then, for a reason unknown to herself, she turned around and talked to the youngster. She ended up taking him to McDonalds and spending some time with him. She thought that was the end of it until she could not stop thinking of him. She was able to find him again, as unlikely as it was in New York, and that is how her interactions with Maurice came to change both of their lives.
Laura knew nothing about just how different their lives were. After all, she had never experienced anything like that. But danger, drugs, prostitution, and a slew of other illegal activity were just part of life and survival for Maurice. As Laura and Maurice got to know each other, he opened up to her about his life. Laura struggled to know just how to maneuver the relationship – she wanted to help but she didn’t want to take over; she wanted to influence but she did not want to discredit those who were in his life already (as bad as it was, he loved his family); she wanted him to dream of something different than he knew but not feel that she was looking down on him for where his life was right then; she wanted him to experience a fuller, richer life but she didn’t want it to be hard for him to cross back over into the life he actually had to live every day. And then, how were others going to see her?
She continued to be a committed influence in Maurice’s life and to do her best to help him change his own circumstances, knowing she could not change them for him. She helped him experience life beyond the walls he knew and to see the possibilities. With family, she exposed him to holidays that he had never celebrated, baseball games with afternoons of joy, and time to concentrate on school instead of survival. And it mattered.
Laura didn’t have an easy life either, though hers did not involve poverty. It did, however, involve alcoholism and abuse. This was something that allowed her to relate to Maurice and for Maurice to see that you can overcome what life hands you to start with. When Laura shared parts of her life with him, he was able to see that Laura really did understand difficulty to some degree. And it bonded them.
The finest part of the book comes at the end, where Maurice writes his own tribute to Laura, who made a difference to him. He tells of the moments that stuck out during their years of friendship and how her belief in him helped him to believe in himself. His letter is extremely touching.
One of my favorite parts is where Maurice sees Laura’s niece and brother-in-law interact. The little girl is very upset and crying hard. Her dad, Laura’s brother-in-law crosses over to her, and Maurice fears what he just knew to be coming – a beating and abuse. But he is shocked to see Laura’s brother-in-law crouch down, talk calmly and reassuringly to her, and to hug her. It was a changing point in Maurice’s life – he saw something possible for the future that he didn’t even know existed.
The book’s title is based upon an Asian proverb that talks about an invisible thread that binds people together, bringing them into each other’s lives. Laura believe’s this invisible thread brought Maurice and her together and allowed them both to live richer, fuller lives because of it.
The book was not hard to read as far as words go. But to read about the life Maurice had to endure, and to escape? That was hard. I know that life exists but I am blessed to never have lived anything even remotely close to that. But to read about the influence that started with a simple meal? That is huge and touching and inspiring. Now to take that and move ever more boldly forward. . .
Next Month – Unbroken by Laura Hildenbrand
Don’t forget to visit Wendy over at Ladybug Daydreams to find out all that she offers on her blog and to read about her thoughts on the book.