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on November 1, 2011
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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I was very torn throughout the reading of this book. Once I finished reading I turned to the user reviews on amazon to see what others thought. I found myself agreeing with both the positive and negative reviews which made me sit back and think long and hard about things.

What drew me to the book was not just the story, but the fact that the first editorial review stated that there was a "lack of excess sentimentality" As far as my tastes go, I don't like gratuitous sentimentality so that simple statement was a ringing endorsement. But the book IS sentimental, sometimes overly so, and, as other less favorable reviews have pointed out, there is a self congratulatory undercurrent at times. There were points in my reading of An Invisible Thread that I would have hurled the book across the room in frustration. The fact that I was reading on the kindle app for my android phone was probably the main reason for my restraint. The author was often the hero in her stories and I found myself wondering how much of a role revisionist history played in her retelling of her childhood and even certain scenes with Maurice. Or maybe not. There are already too many spoilers here in these user reviews so I am not going to give anything away, but suffice it to say that when Laura met Michael I was so angry I wasn't sure I would finish the book. Sure, she talked about her struggles with her decisions but I think I didn't always believe her. There we a few other instances of cowardice in the book that made me cringe but then I had to ask myself whether I would be any less cowardly in some of these emotionally difficult situations. Unfortunately, the answer is probably, NO. Edit* I should note, that along with what I am calling cowardice, Laura also showed incredible bravery and/or courage.

What I finally realized was that no matter how frustrated or angry I became at times, something was keeping me glued to this book. I am a truly terrible reader and always have been. Slow, distractible and easily bored. I can't remember the last book I read in one day. This one I read in half a day, losing precious hours of sleep as I dug deeper and deeper into the story. I loved Maurice. His indomitable spirit in the face of the overwhelming odds against him was just a joy to watch unfold. If I am honest with myself I would have to say that I ended up loving Laura as well. I didn't always like her but what she did for Maurice can't be denied no matter what you decide her motives were. Does it lessen the gift when the giver is also the receiver? I don't think so. Laura gave so much to Maurice and got so much back in return. I don't think we need to penalize her for the fact that in the process of saving Maurice, she managed to save herself as well. Isn't this precisely how so much of life works? Laura is multifaceted and as I turned pages I found myself with myriad emotions about her -- most of them quite positive. In fact, I would like to meet her and find out more of the story that didn't fit in these pages.

We humans are such complex creatures. To sum either one of these two characters up as either privileged, underprivileged, self serving, selfish, innocent, lovable, a victim, cowardly, a hero, a superhero, courageous, or sentimental, is to miss the fact that they are all of the above and then some. They are human. Flawed. Did Laura and Maurice always have pure motives for all the decisions they made? Probably not. I don't know anyone whose motives are always pure. Some reviewers question why Laura wrote the book if not for self congratulations. Maybe. Or maybe she knew she had a good story to tell. The fact that it painted her in a good light is just part of the tale. She DID do a good thing. Don't lose sight of that fact just because at times she seems to feel good about herself. She ought to feel good. It was a potentially miserably unhappy story with a warm and fuzzy ending (FYI - I usually hate warm and fuzzy endings). She did something that most people would not have done and she did it with conviction (and more than a bit of blind faith).

I don't know why Laura (and Alex) chose to write the book. I don't know whether she simply had a story to tell or whether she needed more self validation. I don't actually care WHY she wrote it. I care THAT she wrote it. It comes at a time in our lives when apathy is rampant and relationships are more fragile than ever. Was this a brilliant piece of writing? No, not at all really. Again, I don't really care. It was a simple story (albeit with some complex emotions) simply told. I enjoyed the journey and am finding the thoughtful aftermath more rich and colorful than I had expected.

Bottom line: I recommend the book.
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on May 31, 2012
God bless Laura Schroff and Maurice Maczyk. An Invisible Thread tells their story; Laura, a successful NY career woman, and Maurice, the young 11-year-old panhandler, whom she helped and befriended. Her initial act of kindness, and the lessons they taught one another and share here, are indeed inspiritional, and hopefully will help to change many lives for the better.

But parts of this book are difficult to read. The description of the welfare hotel where Maurice lived at one time is horrifying; the abuse that Laura and her family suffered at the hands of her alcoholic father is even worse. I must applaud the author for her honesty...although she does pat herself on the back a little too often, she also gives other people credit where due, and admits if she made a mistake.

There are many small details (for example, the brown bag lunches, and the bicycle) which add heart to the story, but then other chapters jump ahead abruptly, and suddenly the reader is two years in the future without knowing what transpired in between. Also, the editing could have been better...if Maurice is on a bike, he should "pedal" away, not "peddle," as it is spelled in the text.

For me, almost the saddest part of the book was the following sentence: "He (the suthor's husband) even relented and allowed me to invite Maurice to our home for Christmas one year." Allowed her? Wasn't it her home also? It is obvious that Laura and Maurice have always had a special relationship; what a pity that they were forced to miss any time together at all.

The photo inserts are helpful, and a nice addition, as is the follow-up interview with the author.

Ms. Schroff states that the book idea grew from a magazine article. It is a good book, but not great. Borrow it from the library, and use the money you would have spent on a purchase to perform your own act of kindness. I wish Laura, Maurice, and their entire extended family all the best.
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VINE VOICEon November 9, 2011
I'm so glad I finally got to this title in my to-read basket - it's one of those books you don't want to put down until it's finished. Laura when confronted by an 11 year old panhandler instead of ignoring him or at best giving him some loose change, asked the young Maurice to lunch at McDonalds. This was the start of a friendship that was to impact both their lives long term.
I thought that Laura was going to be some near-perfect rich woman doing a good deed (not that there's anything wrong with that) but turns out she herself came from modest means and an abusive family. Although she couldn't comprehend the poverty and drugs of Maurice's life, she did understand that he deeply valued the consistency she provided in his life.
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on November 21, 2013
This was possibly the worst book I ever spent time on. I pushed myself to finish the story. Laure is the most self centered person ever. The whole story was all about her. Like shut up !!! This is not about you it's about how you HEPLED Maurice. Every time we would get a piece of Maurice's history , BAM it would switch to something about Laure. Then the story line was all over the place. One min. she is 20 something then 30 then back to 20 . Like don't give me future information if it didn't happen yet. It was like she was so excited about telling the world about how she "HELPED" so poor blak kid and all of her thoughts were all over the place. She abandoned him when he needed her most for some man she thought she loved. I didn't read this to learn about Laure's life story tell me about the kid you so called HELPED. I will not recommend this book to anyone. If someone asks me about the book I will tell them my Opinion.
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on July 14, 2012
This is my first book review. I really thought this would be a touching book but WOW is Laura Schroff the most self-centered, self-serving person ever? I was so angry at the story and I am dumbfounded that anyone thinks this is a good story. So let me get this straight:

First we start off with a single woman in her 30's with huge issues about not having a husband or a child of her own. Then she finds this hungry kid on the street and clings on to him for dear life so that he can meet her parenting needs. It's all on her own terms though and she really doesn't care what happens to the kid or whether or not he eats aside from their 3 hour weekly meeting. She praises herself secondarily over and over again by saying how others say "oh you've done so much for him!" She panders with an obligatory "no I'M the one who's gained from this" and you can literally hear her pause so you can interject with how great she is. She tries throughout to paint herself as such the hero- "confronting" the door man so that he will let Maurice come in with out trouble. Such a hero.

Astoundingly, once the boy sees her as a constant in his life she abandons him during his most formidable years as he becomes a teenager and young man. Why? Because she's finally found a man! So this guy comes along and she guiltlessly rids the kid from her life, not inviting him to Christmas, missing meetings, etc. Apparently she never brought up the idea of having Maurice in their life and the husband seems completely surprised by his potential presence- a clear testament to just how important Maurice was to her. Hilariously, as much as she's yearning to have a child of her own she marries a guy who doesn't want kids but she somehow never asked him this until after they're married! This woman is SO selfish and desperate for approval that she never pushes on having Maurice in her life. Am I the only one who sees the incredible selfishness of this period? It's horrible!

Abandon by her for his whole teenage years the kid is on his own and ends up as a man in his young 20's working as a security guard or something and with like 5 kids and she gets passively-aggressively mad at him for having kids too young!!

Of course her husband realizes what a self-centered jerk she is and divorces her. So where does she go? That's right- back to Maurice who she hasn't made an effort to see in the last 5 years! To top it all off she throws herself a ridiculous 50th birthday party (bc no one else would throw it for her) and has Maurice give a toast about what a great person she is and how she saved his life!

I've never read a book that was so self-serving. This lady is an awful person and everything she did was for how own needs. Terrible story about a needy woman using a helpless child to meet her needs.

Oh and you can get a sense of what people really think of her by reading the opening foreword by her friend and former boss. The lady is so painfully trying to find someway to say something nice about the author. I should have put the book down right there.

I'd really love to hear comments- agreeing or disagreeing. This book just made me so angry it was a terrible terrible story if you look at the details.
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on January 1, 2014
I found the story interesting, that's why I bought the book, but it is like the author is celebrating herself over and over, a humble comment and another round of "how wonderful I am"... Quite boring. There are many things untold, this cold be a great story but it is not deep enough.

Finally, this book needs editing, it's poorly written.

Don't buy it. Save it for better books or someone in need.
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on November 4, 2011
This is a story of truths ... hard truths. It's also a story of courage, trust and love. We go through life wondering 'why am I here?' We wonder if we have a purpose and often think it's a futile question that will go on unanswered forever. This book is a tale of impulsive, important purpose. Keep a hanky handy. You'll eventually need it. I loved both the writer and the heroes, including she who told the story. It's a pageturner!
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on November 29, 2013
An awful, self-indulgent perspective that read like a justification for the author's involvement in the boy's life and a how-to guide for "making a difference". I kept reading because I kept hoping it would get better, but I hated every minute of it.
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on February 6, 2012
The good news is that this book kept me reading. The bad news is I was left with a general unease upon finishing. I never could have done with Ms. Schroff did, and I am glad that she made such a difference in one boy's life. But call me a cynic -- I see many flaws in the "take away" the book seems to present: that we need to be worthy good Samaritans and we will be rewarded. Many good Samaritans are not rewarded in the immediate time frame, through no fault of their own. And many people help in less one-on-one personal ways (by giving to charities and by volunteering for example, or working in fields such as teaching and social work) and their works are just as valuable. I was bothered by the abuse and dysfunction that was deemed acceptable in Ms. Schroff's home. It is one thing to endure it while you are a child, but I didn't see any real growth in relationships as she matured. A particular sore spot for me SPOILER COMING>>>>>> was that when Maurice is able to get section 8 housing on his own, which is the system working just as it was intended to do, he games the system by moving in with his girlfriend and letting his mother (who is ineligible for Section 8 due to past actions) move in, and eventually through his mother's actions, there is a destructive fire. That is not a failure of the system. That is an abuse of the system (sadly, by Maurice) that ends badly for all. All that being said, I wish the best for the Ms. Schroff and Mr. Mazyck and their families, as I wish the best for all of us.
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