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An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny

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An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny Cover

ISBN13: 9781451642513
ISBN10: 1451642512
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Publisher Comments:

andlt;iandgt;and#8220;Excuse me lady, do you have any spare change? I am hungry.and#8221;andlt;/iandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;iandgt;When I heard him, I didnand#8217;t really hear him. His words were part of the clatter, like a car horn or someone yelling for a cab. They were, you could say, just noiseand#8212;the kind of nuisance New Yorkers learn to tune out. So I walked right by him, as if he wasnand#8217;t there. andlt;/iandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;iandgt;But then, just a few yards past him, I stopped. andlt;/iandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;iandgt;And thenand#8212;and Iand#8217;m still not sure why I did thisand#8212;I came back.andlt;/iandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;When Laura Schroff first met Maurice on a New York City street corner, she had no idea that she was standing on the brink of an incredible and unlikely friendship that would inevitably change both their lives. As one lunch at McDonaldand#8217;s with Maurice turns into two, then into a weekly occurrence that is fast growing into an inexplicable connection, Laura learns heart-wrenching details about Mauriceand#8217;s horrific childhood. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;iandgt;The boy is stuck in something like hell. He is six years old and covered in small red bites from chinchesand#8212;bed bugsand#8212;and he is woefully skinny due to an unchecked case of ringworm. He is so hungry his stomach hurts, but then he is used to being hungry: when he was two years old the pangs got so bad he rooted through the trash and ate rat droppings. He had to have his stomach pumped. He is staying in his fatherand#8217;s cramped, filthy apartment, sleeping with stepbrothers who wet the bed, surviving in a place that smells like something died. He has not seen his mother in three months, and he doesnand#8217;t know why. His world is a world of drugs and violence and unrelenting chaos, and he has the wisdom to know, even at six, that if something does not change for him soon, he might not make it. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;/iandgt;Sprinkled throughout the book is also Lauraand#8217;s own story of her turbulent childhood. Every now and then, something about Maurice's struggles reminds her of her past, how her fatherand#8217;s alcohol-induced rages shaped the person she became and, in a way, led her to Maurice. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;iandgt;He started by cursing my mother and screaming at her in front of all of us. My mother pulled us closer to her and waited for it to pass. But it didnand#8217;t. My father left the room and came back with two full liquor bottles. He threw them right over our heads, and they smashed against the wall. Liquor and glass rained down on us, and we pulled up the covers to shield ourselves. My father hurled the next bottle, and then went back for two more. They shattered just above our heads; the sound was sickening. My father kept screaming and ranting, worse than Iand#8217;d ever heard him before. When he ran out of bottles he went into the kitchen and overturned the table and smashed the chairs. Just then the phone rang, and my mother rushed to get it. I heard her screaming to the caller to get help. My father grabbed the phone from her and ripped the base right out of the wall. My mother ran back to us as my father kept kicking and throwing furniture, unstoppable, out of his mind.andlt;/iandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;As their friendship grows, Laura offers Maurice simple experiences he comes to treasure: learning how to set a table, trimming a Christmas tree, visiting her nieces and nephew on Long Island, and even having homemade lunches to bring to school. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;iandgt;and#8220;If you make me lunch,and#8221; he said, and#8220;will you put it in a brown paper bag?and#8221;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;I didnand#8217;t really understand the question. "Okay, sure. But why do you want it in a brown paper bag?and#8221;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;/iandgt;andlt;iandgt;and#8220;Because when I see kids come to school with their lunch in a brown paper bag, that means someone cares about them.and#8221; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;/iandgt;andlt;iandgt;I looked away when Maurice said that, so he wouldnand#8217;t see me tear up.andlt;/iandgt; A simple brown paper bagandlt;iandgt;, I thought.andlt;/iandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;iandgt;To me, it meant nothing. To him, it was everything.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;/iandgt;It is the heartwarming story of a friendship that has spanned thirty years, that brought life to an over-scheduled professional who had lost sight of family and happiness and hope to a hungry and desperate boy whose family background in drugs and crime and squalor seemed an inescapable fate. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;iandgt;He had, inside of him, some miraculous reserve of goodness and strength, some fierce will to be special. I saw this in his hopeful face the day he asked for spare change, and I see it in his eyes today. 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 might call it heart. Whatever it was, it drew me to him, as if we were bound by some invisible, unbreakable thread.andlt;/iandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;iandgt;And whatever it is, it binds us still.andlt;/iandgt;

Review:

"According to an old Chinese proverb, there's an invisible thread that connects two people who are destined to meet and influence each other's lives. With Tresniowski (The Vendetta), Schroff tells how, as a busy advertising sales executive in New York, she easily passed panhandlers every day. One day, 11-year-old Maurice's plea for spare change caused Schroff to turn around and offer to buy him lunch. Thereafter, Schroff and Maurice met for dinner each week and slowly shared their life stories. Maurice's tales about his crack addict mother, absent father, and array of drug-dealing uncles were only part of his desperate longing for a life in a safe neighborhood in an apartment with more than one room. As they grow to depend on each other, Maurice asks Schroff to attend his school's parents' night, where his teacher asks Schroff not to abandon the boy. In some weeks, the meals they share become some of the few he has, because any money his mother might 'earn' goes to her habit. As Schroff relates Maurice's story, she tells of her own father's alcoholism and abuse, and readers see how desperately these two need each other in this feel-good story about the far-reaching benefits of kindness. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Laura Schroff is a former advertising executive who has worked with several major media companies, including Time Inc. and Conde Nast. Born and raised on Long Island, Laura was part of the advertising team that made USA Today a successful national newspaper. Before helping launch three of the most successful start-ups in Time Inc. history—InStyle, Teen People, and People StyleWatch—she was also the New York Division Manager at People magazine. Laura has also been the New York Ad Manager at Ms. magazine and Associate Publisher at Brides. Laura loves spending time at her condo on Long Island and visiting with her family in New York and Florida. She lives in New York City with her feisty poodle Coco. Alex Tresniowski is a writer living and working in New York City. He has been a senior writer for People Magazine since 1998, writing numerous cover stories and focusing on human interest, crime, and sports. He is also the author of six books, including 2005’s The Vendetta, a true crime story that was purchased by Universal Pictures and used as a basis for the 2009 Johnny Depp movie Public Enemies.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

code7r, March 30, 2012 (view all comments by code7r)
“An Invisible Thread” by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski is a true story of a successful ad sales rep, Laura Schroff, and a homeless 11 year old panhandler, Maurice, who by chance for an unlikely friendship in the heart of Manhattan.

11 year old Maurice was asking for money because he was hungry. Laura Schroff walked right on by without noticing him. Then, for no reason, she stops, turns around and offers to take Maurice to McDonalds for some food. Thus began what would become a weekly tradition between Maurice and Laura.

Reading about Maurice was heartbreaking. It is hard to imagine that a child would have to live like he did with a drug addicted parents and extended family, never knowing where he was going to sleep or when he was going to eat. Maurice has grown up learning never to trust anyone. Until he meets Laura and takes a chance.

Laura is brutally honest about herself and Maurice in this book. She grew up in a household with an alcoholic father. She became a successful ad sales rep despite not having gone to college. Although she was successful, she was missing something in her life. Turns out, it was Maurice that she was missing.

This is a feel good story about a chance encounter, learning to trust, and opening your heart. Laura and Maurice are incredible people who changed each other’s lives for the better.
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Robin Fuller, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Robin Fuller)
this was our bookclub selection for one month and we all enjoyed it. This is a book that makes you think about people you pass and dismiss without really thinking about them and their lives.
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Silvers Reviews, November 24, 2011 (view all comments by Silvers Reviews)
Maurice had never met anyone like Laura and Laura had never met anyone like Maurice. They were from two different worlds. Laura doesn't know why she stopped and turned back after Maurice asked her for some money, but she is glad she did.

Through Maurice, Laura learned about the life he and thousands of others were living on a daily basis....not a pleasant life at all. Laura was helping Maurice to live a better life at least one day a week, and it seemed to be paying off since she could see a change in him even though he had to go back to his horrible living conditions after he left her.

As well as learning about the living conditions of others, the author also gave the reader a chance to find out that her childhood/family life was not very easy.....her father was an abusive alcoholic, and her mother sat by not being able to defend herself or her children. Obviously the author's childhood and the childhood of her brothers and sisters had an impact on their entire life and on her decision to turn back and fulfill Maurice’s plea for help.

The descriptions in the book are very detailed and heartbreaking but also heartwarming. You will become a part of the lives of every character and you will feel their pain and happiness.

An Invisible Thread is the perfect title for this book. The book brought to the surface that we all have a connection to other human beings even though that connection may not be outwardly visible.

I truly enjoyed the book because of the honesty of feelings and of human kindness and human connection. This is a must read. Laura Schroff is a brave woman to reveal all this about her life, but it definitely will make you realize that no matter how small the gesture may be, we can make a difference for someone else. 5/5
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781451642513
Subtitle:
The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny
Author:
Schroff, Laura L
Author:
Tresniowski, Alex
Author:
Salembier, Valerie
Author:
Schroff, Laura
Publisher:
Howard Books
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20111101
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 pg b-w insert
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Biographies
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Memoirs
History and Social Science » Sociology » Urban Studies » General

An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny Used Hardcover
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Product details 272 pages Howard Books - English 9781451642513 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "According to an old Chinese proverb, there's an invisible thread that connects two people who are destined to meet and influence each other's lives. With Tresniowski (The Vendetta), Schroff tells how, as a busy advertising sales executive in New York, she easily passed panhandlers every day. One day, 11-year-old Maurice's plea for spare change caused Schroff to turn around and offer to buy him lunch. Thereafter, Schroff and Maurice met for dinner each week and slowly shared their life stories. Maurice's tales about his crack addict mother, absent father, and array of drug-dealing uncles were only part of his desperate longing for a life in a safe neighborhood in an apartment with more than one room. As they grow to depend on each other, Maurice asks Schroff to attend his school's parents' night, where his teacher asks Schroff not to abandon the boy. In some weeks, the meals they share become some of the few he has, because any money his mother might 'earn' goes to her habit. As Schroff relates Maurice's story, she tells of her own father's alcoholism and abuse, and readers see how desperately these two need each other in this feel-good story about the far-reaching benefits of kindness. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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