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Hope's Boy Paperback – February 17, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bridge's memoir of surviving his childhood in a broken child-care system where the state acts as parents for the young certainly illustrates the complexity of such government institutions. After being removed from his mother by the state, Bridge spent a brief stint in a residential program before being put into foster care. His decade-long stay with an emotionally abusive and unsupportive family left its share of marks, and the book feels like Bridge's attempt to cleanse the taint of the experience. While it does highlight problems of the system, it fails to be anything more than just another story of an unfortunate upbringing. As the story is told through the eyes of a young boy, David Drummond's soft elocution ably puts readers back into that frame. But this doesn't keep Drummond from juggling the range of ages, genders, accents and personalities of the different characters effectively. Although the story isn't extraordinary, Drummond remains consistent and engaging throughout.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


"Andrew Bridge has written an affecting, moving memoir which in the end is a poignant cry for rethinking our foster care system. Hope's Boy will stay with you long after you've put it down."―Alex Kotlowitz

"His story is shocking, inspiring, unforgettable."―People

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; Reprint edition (February 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401309747
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401309749
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. Gordon on February 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was deeply moved by "Hope's Boy," Andrew Bridge's haunting elegy of a childhood that seemed to be lost forever when the author, at age 7, became a ward of the State after being taken from the arms of his young mother on a street corner in North Hollywood, California. Mr. Bridge's unsparing chronicle of his experiences on the front lines of our nation's foster care system -- including his time in a facility that seemed more like a prison camp, and his rearing by a sadistic foster mother, who herself was a prison camp survivor -- opened my eyes more widely to the system's endemic problems than any piece of investigative journalism on the subject ever could. But, at its core, Mr. Bridge's book is a heartbreaking, unforgettable love story about a mother and her son. Even though Mr. Bridge's mother, Hope, appears intermittently throughout his memoir, I felt her presence, even in her absence, on every single page of his book. I don't know that I've ever read anything more powerful about love and loss than Mr. Bridge's searing prose about his mother's embrace as she struggled to hold onto him when he was being pried from her arms. And ultimately, I was inspired by how Hope's love gave the boy, Andy, the strength to pursue, and, ultimately, achieve his goals. The adult Andrew has given a proud, defiant voice to the boy and his mother. I, for one, am glad to have heard them and hope that many others will too.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Karen Lausa on March 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book held my interest to the very last page, but only when I read the epilogue did I shed a few tears of rage.
All the loneliness, the cruelty and chronic absence of nurturing and support in Andrew Bridge's life did not fill me with despair as much as the description of his fight as an adult, and an accomplished lawyer, to fight back against the very system that held him in bondage for his entire adolescence.
As a former court appointed special advocate in Colorado (CASA), and now a legal assistant for a Guardian ad litem specializing in family and juvenile law, I see on a daily basis how crippled and inadequate are our bureacracies in regard to foster care and all the children held in its limbo.
The courts are crowded, there aren't enough good homes, and the cases just keep coming...
I know from firsthand experience that children long for their parents, even when neglect feels like the norm and things at home are substandard.The system too often removes the kids, lets them languish too long in foster placements, and fails to provide appropriate support to the parents. ( An eight week class for meth addiction, or a six week workshop to end a life's cycle of domestic violence, etc.) We put band-aids on these families and heal very few of them. Emancipation at 18 is a frightening step for kids who have never had what the average child needs and has provided for him until the age of 26. Andrew Bridge was a victim of our inadequate system, but survived to become a voice to reckon with. His is a story that should not have happened, but the world is better for his courage and honesty in writing this book.
I will allow Andrew Bridge's words to inform my approach to working with the foster kids in Colorado.I also know now that to mention an absent parent's love and struggles should not be a taboo.It might be the very thing that is missing, regardless of the outcome for a family. Thank you, Andrew Bridge.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By James Augustine on February 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Some families cannot be saved and their children cannot be return. Yet, even then, their love for each other must be worth something."
-- Andrew Bridge, Hope's Boy

This is a brave memoir about our nation's horribly broken foster care system, that all too often fails our children and families who are in most need and who are most vulnerable. With a steady and elegant voice, Bridge describes a mother who loved him desperately, and in the end, did more than most would ever ask of themselves, all the while savaged by mental illness. With tenderness, he describes how love can exist alongside failure and how a mother can ultimately "love a child more than she can care for him." The story is profoundly inspirational, told without a trace of bitterness - and clearly required tremendous courage to write.

Bridge went on to Wesleyan University, graduated from Harvard Law School, then devoted his life to the children he remembered -- children with broken lives who still wait for something far better than we give them.

An excellent read - an important one, too.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jon Seifer on February 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Andy Bridge's likeable childhood photo peers out from his bookjacket, but his eyes betray his face. Just slightly though. He has been trained to smile for the camera. It's a heartbreaking photograph and it drew me to the rack upon which the book sat. I know that look. Eager to please, yet mindful of the consequence of caring.

Like a scene from a macabre Tennessee Williams play, Andy is ripped from his over-the-edge mother when she has one too many public meltdowns. "Hope's Boy" is whisked away from the scene. And like one of Williams' characters, from now on Andy's survival will depend upon the kindness of strangers.

That's what kids learn when the bottom falls out. Some folks will like you, but most won't.

Kids remember all the stings. And some of the encouragement. You learn to become an actor, to do what you're told, You've been broken young, by people who aren't your parents. It's just easier to go along to get along.

In his probing memoir, Andy Bridges shows us in graphic detail exactly how good an actor he can be. And it is to his credit, as this quality keeps him tied to one family, the Leonards, for most of his remaining childhood.

He learns that Mrs. Leonard, a Nazi survivor, has mood swings and he needs to stay out of her way. He overhears her gossiping with neighbors about his plight and those of the other foster children that pass through the Leonard's household. He sees there's a revolving door. There's no security here. But he promises to do better.

Bridges' writing is candid, honest, self-effacing . . . and ultimately surprising.

The touchstone of the story is young Jason, another foster child.
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