Occasionally I see a book with a cover that just catches my eye, and I feel a strong need pick it up and look through it. Sometimes it is the colors that draw my attention. Other times it might be a word that jumps out at me. Sometimes a picture piques my interest. Usually this means that the jacket designer has done a fantastic job of packaging the book because I picked it up instead of merely looking at it. But jacket design can only get a book so far before the book has to rely on its literary merits.
I’m not positive what drew my attention to the cover of An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski. Maybe it was the picture of the little boy looking up at the business woman. Maybe it was the words “11-year-old panhandler”. Something caught my eye so I picked it up. The excerpt on the back made me keep it.
It reads “She was a successful ad sales rep in Manhattan. He was a homeless, eleven-year-old panhandler on the street. He asked for spare change; she kept walking. But then something stopped her in her tracks, and she went back. And she continued to go back, again and again. They met up nearly every week for years and built an unexpected, life-changing friendship that has today spanned almost three decades.”
How could you not want to read about that?
I’ll admit to some misgivings. I worried that it would have a lot of foul language. I was pleasantly surprised that it only had one of two words throughout the entire book. I also worried about how graphic some of the situations might be, but the two authors did a great job of telling the story without gratuitous violence or sentimentality. Schroff is very matter of fact, almost to the point of being blunt, when she shares some of the details of her life and Maurice’s, the kind of details most of us hide.
I loved this book. The story is very uplifting and compelling. I hated to put it down when the kids came home from school and dinner had to be made. It made an impression on me as I have stopped to think about whether I would have stopped. If I had stopped would I have been as brave as she was? It’s an incredible story.
It is one of the best memoirs that I have read in a very long time. Because it made me evaluate my own life and change some of my attitudes, it belongs on the shelf of truly life-changing books. Hopefully all of us can be like Laura Schroff and have the courage to stop and help others no matter their circumstances. She and Maurice are real heroes!
Part of the proceeds from the purchase of this book go to No Kid Hungry. You can click here to make a donation and learn more.