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Finding Fish: A Memoir Paperback – December 18, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0060007782 ISBN-10: 0060007788 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 339 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (December 18, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060007788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060007782
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Thank goodness Antwone Fisher's story has a happy ending--otherwise, his searing memoir would be nearly unbearable to read. His father was killed by a gunshot blast shortly before he was born in 1959; his 17-year-old mother gave him up for foster care. Unfortunately for Antwone, his foster mother was as successful at browbeating and demeaning her many wards as she was at lying to the Child Welfare authorities. His working-class African American neighborhood in Cleveland became purgatory for a sensitive, intelligent boy who quickly turned into a withdrawn underperformer at school. In Fisher's blow-by-blow account of his childhood, his sexual abuse at the hands of a female neighbor is hardly more horrifying than his foster mother's relentless cruelty--especially because respectable, churchgoing Mrs. Pickett justifies it all as due to the boy's wicked faults. Readers will be relieved when she dumps 15-year-old Antwone back at the Child Welfare office, even though he will endure homelessness and a scary spell of criminal employment, before an 11-year stint in the Navy provides him with a way forward. Grim though his tale is, Fisher displays throughout it the grit and stubborn integrity that kept him sane. He musters up some understanding (not forgiveness) for the dreadful Mrs. Pickett, and his eventual meeting with his burned-out mother is painfully poignant. He certainly deserves the beautiful wife and cute two-year-old daughter, cooking pancakes for him in the book's closing and redemptive scene. --Wendy Smith --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

An unflinching look at the adverse effects foster care can have on a child's life, this stunning autobiography rises above the pack of success fables from survivors of America's inner cities. Born in the 1950s to an underage single mother serving time in prison for murder, Fisher was placed in the home of a staunch minister and his wife, who appeared to be a loving couple to the series of foster care workers who monitored their home in one of Cleveland's working-class neighborhoods. Writing in a deft mix of elegant prose and forceful dialect, Fisher is especially adept at dramatizing the tactics of control and intimidation practiced by his foster mother on the abused children in her care, such as crushing Fisher's self-esteem by calling him worthless, shaming one girl after she began her period and making the boys bathe with Clorox. (Fisher supports his detailed recollections with excerpts from the actual foster-care records.) An added bonus is the author's vibrant recreation of several key black neighborhoods in Cleveland during the golden age of the Black Power movement, before the areas disappeared under the aegis of urban "renewal." If a major feature of survival memoirs is their ability to impress readers with the subject's long, steady climb to redemption and excellence, then this engrossing book is a classic. (Feb. 5) Forecast: Boosted this season by a national ad campaign, 25-city radio campaign and a six-city author tour, interest in Fisher's autobiography is guaranteed to swell when the movie adaptation of the book (shooting this month and directed by Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington, who will also star) hits screens nationwide (tentatively scheduled for next winter).
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I cried and laughed while reading this book.
E. Dixon
An amazing story . . . a beautiful story and most of all, an inspiring story.
Autumn Jimerson
The life story of Antwone Fisher is moving, touching, and unforgettable.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I haven't finished "Finding Fish" yet (I'm about three-quarters of the way through), but I was compelled to write this review anyway. I am an avid fan of memoirs, and "Finding Fish" is the most indescribably sad books I've ever read. Antwone Fisher's hardscrabble life, so lacking in the simple pleasures and creature comforts such as love and affection, is almost painful to read; as you turn the page you'll find yourself hoping that this will be the paragraph where his life begins to take a turn for the better. What you get instead is continuous accounts of cruel, heartless treatment which starts from the time Antwone is a toddler and last into his young adulthood.
Fisher recounts his life story with the same emotional detachment that must have been necessary for him to survive his childhood surroundings, but as you get further into the story you realize that he doesn't need to "dress up" is words. The power of his pain does not need embellishment. Be prepared to cry as you read this book, but also be prepared to feel joy for and pride in Fisher for struggling through, perserving, and ultimately finding success. This story will make you take stock of your own life and feel grateful.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Brenda J. Christian on August 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I came upon this book by chance while browsing through an airport book store. From the first page, I was hooked, as the writer opens with a narrative about his father; a father he never knew because he was shot by his mother before he was born. Fisher eloquently allows the reader to share in the horrors he experienced as a ward of the state of Ohio. With each page, one can feel the disappointments, the physical and emotional pain this child endured every day of his life. The story tells of his life in an orphange, followed by what one would believe, his salvation, in the home of his foster parents. Unfortunately, life with his foster parents resulted in a slow demise of his spirit. He endured physical, sexual, and emotional abuse on a daily basis, and grew into adulthood with an extremely low self-esteem and no self-worth. How he survived is truly miraculous.
This book not only gives you insight into the child welfare system, but it carries you into the hearts of the orphaned children that the system often fails.
This book will make you laugh, make you cry, make you thank God for your blessings. and make you realize just how powerful determination can be.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Cox on January 1, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I can certainly relate to Antwon Fisher's story, for I was placed in three different foster homes and suffered everlasting effects at the hands of a Reverend and his wife along with another foster home who maimed and tortured the children under their care. I also joined the U.S. Navy in 1984 after being in these homes and am currently serving as a Chief Petty Officer.
This story brings with it the breadth and magnitude of how a courageous young man fought the odds of a turbulent pass to become a success in life. The book is well worth buying and the movie will be just as exciting to watch.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "mistermann" on October 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
This memoir took me through a lot of emotions as I read it over the course of three days. I appreciated my upbringing much more at the end of the book and I was hardly given a bed of roses. I am disheartened at the reviewers who didnt like this book because they felt as if Fisher didnt endure as much as many other children in the foster care system. That's exactly what made the book so compelling. Mental abuse over a long period of time can be just as devastating as physical abuse. Yes, there are kids who turn out worse or who may have had it harder bouncing from place to place but Antwone's story is incredible. He was broken down mentally and spiritually but he still endured. His story is simple but it's so powerful at the same time. Immediately after finishing his memoir I knew right away that it is a book that I would recommend to the young men in my mentor program. This insightful book is a great read, especially for young black men living in 2002 who think that the world owes them something. I am truly inspired by Antwone Fisher's work.

Mister Mann Frisby
Author of "Blinking Red Light"
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By pamela l. moye on June 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I read a small ad for this book in a library journal and decided to attempt to locate it through my local library. The public library in Fayetteville, NC is a wonderful resource. They had the book. I just completed it. I say "whoosh" because this book has the effect of inflating a balloon, and slowly letting all of the air out. That's what happened to this young man's life. His testimony is a "must read". There were times during my reading when I had to put it down. It was such a powerful narrative, and a demonstration of "what's wrong" with the child welfare system. I pray that the foster mother, Mrs. Pickett, is alive and in full control of her faculties at this time. She is clearly identified as a vicious, sick human being, who should have never been licensed as a foster parent. The child welfare agencies, also, are glaringly neglectful in their care of this child, Antwone. My heart went out top this young man. As a social worker, who has worked with foster children for many years, Antwone's story is another clear indictment of the "system" and its flaws. I never thought I would say this, but I almost feel that orphanages are superior to "foster" care. At least in an orphanage, a child knows where he or she is, and can grow to accept it. This was a beautifully written narrative, portrayed with angst and soul. God bless this man and his family. I have told many people about this book, and will continue to laud it's worth and magnificence.
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