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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2013
This can not be compared to the blind side. Laura was selfish and used Maurice as long as it worked for her. Read something else!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2011
I read a recommendation in a newspaper or magazine about this book. It said this book will keep you crying. I love books that touch me to the point that I cry. Unfortunately, I never once shed a tear. I think Laura did what many would never dare in building a relationship with a young underpriviledged boy. She and Maurice should be commended for the love and trust they offered each other. I'm sure Laura made a huge difference in Maurice's life. Had she not taken him under her wing, he would likely have gone down the wrong path. Maurice should be very proud of himself that he stayed true to dream and grew up without giving in to pressures of his surroundings. The book was written in a pretty light fashion. I read it in about 2 days and had no problem putting it down. I picked it up again just to finish it. I didn't feel a lot of substance in the writing. I'm sorry I can't give it more stars. The story is sweet, but the book, for me, is not a must read. I do wish more people would behave the way Laura did. I know my life is full of giving and making contributions to my community and people less fortunate than myself both financially and by volunteer work. I hope this book will incite people who do not to take action and make a difference.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2014
In the end, the author does to the panhandler Maurice exactly what was done to him by other adults in his life - she abandoned him. The author can justify it any way she likes, but she began a relationship with Maurice when she had no man in her life, and then kicked him to the curb once she met her husband. Maurice's teacher saw this, and that's why she warned the author to reexamine her motives to insure she was in it for the long term.

The author also speaks about her own mother as if she were a saint. This was a woman who allowed her five children to be terrorized for decades by an alcoholic, abusive father. The mother's weakness was justified by the author, even though one of the siblings grew up to be an emotional cripple due to years of physical and mental abuse by the father, and the author herself was very much of an enabler, as evidence by her submissiveness to her husband concerning Maurice and starting a family.

The author exposed Maurice to everything he couldn't have, and then didn't stick around long enough to show him how to get it. That's what was so depressing and annoying about the book. Maurice began the same cycle as his mother and father - the only difference was that he didn't do drugs. Right at the time the author probably could have made a real difference in his life, she was too enamored with her own life and no longer had time for him.

When I first began the book and was enjoying the story, I wondered why it hadn't been made into a movie - now I know why. The author never fully carried out her promise to Maurice, nor did she show him how to enter the same world she had dangled in front of his face. By the time she (and her husband) had time for him again, he was already an 18 year old adult with two children of his own and one divorce already under his belt.

This is not a book that displays mothers in a good light. They continually fail their children while the author makes excuses as to why they do. Like I said, depressing and annoying.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2013
I normally don't post reviews, but I was so underwhelmed by this insipid "book" that I felt compelled to warn others. This was a book club selection, but I approached it with an open mind, thinking it would at least be a feel-good piece. The premise is nice, but the sub-title tells the ENTIRE story. The book is just is just page after page after page of it being restated. It would have been a nice article in a women's magazine, but this should not have been published as a stand-alone book.

There is absolutely no depth to the author's writing or reflections, which I find astounding considering the abundance of possible topics. She was a single woman working in a male-dominated industry at a time when women were finally shattering glass ceilings. She was living in New York City shortly after the city's fiscal near-collapse. And she was given a window into an underworld that few people even know exists. There is no conflict, and everything unfolds exactly as it would in a children's movie. I'm not sure if the author is truly as vapid as the book portrays, or if she was just trying to tell a story that would sell.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2013
The story was nice but a little too soppy. It never made sense to me why the author didnt make arrangements to see the kid after she got married.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2013
This book was tedious. The author spent most of the book writing about how great she is or explaining obvious details about poverty.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
It is impossible to read 'The Invisible Thread' without becoming extremely impressed by both the co-author, Laura Schroff, and the young boy she befriended over a number of years - Maurice. They first met when he was 11 and begging for money so that he could eat. At first she ignored him, then turned back and offered to take the skinny youngster to McDonald's. And she repeated the treat at least every Monday at varying restaurants for the next three years.

Turned out they lived only two blocks from each other - Maurice, with his mother, grandmother, and siblings in a single room welfare apartment, and Laura, alone in a studio apartment. Laura was the first person Maurice even knew that had a regular job. His father, Morris, was a stick-up man, and also feared as a street-fighter. Morris was also a heavy drug user and an alcoholic. When Maurice was five, his mother left because of constantly being beaten and ended up cutting Morris' arms with a kitchen knife when he tried to bring her back to him.

Laura slowly increased the depth of their relationship, bringing him home to provide a home-cooked dinner, taking him to a Mets game, taking his mother's place at a meeting with his teacher (she'd refused to go), buying him a watch so he would get to school on time, encouraging him to do his homework. Maurice was fortunate to also have a supportive teacher - that teacher also pointed out to Laura that it was essential that she not withdraw from supporting Maurice.

Then Laura took Maurice to her sister's home in the suburbs (had children in his age range), invited him over for Thanksgiving (watched the Macy's parade from the roof-top, along with sister's family), and again at Christmas (gave him presents). Taught him how to bake a cake, bought him clothes, helped him by washing his clothes; friends and relatives also pitched in with hand-me-downs. Amazingly Laura never refused to also send home extra clothes and food for Maurice's family.

Laura eventually married and moved away - the marriage she regretted before it even began because her husband-to-be refused to allow Maurice to visit Laura at her new home. She continued to visit him, nonetheless, in New York City. His mother and father died of AIDS, most/all his childhood friends became addicts and/or ended up in jail. Maurice had an illegitimate child and a failed first relationship, but stayed away from drugs and crime. (Did make a living for awhile selling knock-off jeans.) Eventually he found a solid life-partner, they married and stayed together, he got his GED, and started his own construction business.

Laura and Maurice are still friends. Maurice provide an emotional toast for Laura's 50th birthday celebration.

Bottom-Line: I'd like Laura to be my model in such situations - what she did was incredibly valuable for that young man. (Turns out she had had a destructive father as well, and because of her problem husband, no children of her own.) And he had incredible strength and integrity of his own to be loyal to her, take advantage of her outside help and perspectives, and follow a productive path.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2012
I think this is a vastly over-rated book. I never really got a sense of this man as a boy, and as the book went on, it just became boring. It seemed like a litany of facts, rather than emotion. We did this on Monday, and then another Monday we did this, on and on and on. Summary: Boy has terrible life. Woman had a bad childhood. They became friends, did things together, and both were better for it.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2014
This was our book club choice a few meetings ago and we almost unanimously were uneasy with the story. Perhaps because we have a few members who work with children like Maurice professionally. At any rate, I was disappointed because it seemed to me that Laura never understood the damage she could have done. Once on the path of helping Maurice, she would have been wise to recognize her lack of knowledge and experience.

It should be noted that her behavior followed the exact steps of a grooming pedophile - start with a conversation, next step to McDonalds meals for a while, then to her apartment for home cooked meals, launder the clothes he was wearing; as trust grows step up the process. Ball game, Christmas, etc. She had good intentions but it was uncomfortable to watch her winning Maurice's trust step by step. Any adult can win over a child no matter how "street smart" that child may be.

Finally, when Laura wrote this book I would have felt much better if she had included a disclaimer at the beginning acknowledging that she now understands just how close she could have come to destroying a young boy's life because of her inexperience and her own unresolved issues. It would have been the perfect opportunity to cite sources for volunteering in this field under the guidance of professionals.
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