I listened to An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year Old Panhandler, A Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting With Destiny by Laura Schroff as an audio book. My friend recommended this book to me and it was available at the library as an audio book, so I borrowed it. I have a long drive to and from work in the morning, so I decided to take advantage of that time and listen to this book. I am not sure if I just disliked the reader of this book or the book itself (or both!), but I didn’t enjoy it. I have to admit, they totally lost me when the author said the 11 year old panhandler in New York didn’t know how to blow his nose, use a knife and fork, and didn’t realize people went to work on a daily basis. I may be totally naive, but I found this hard to believe.
In addition, the reader of the book used a fake bad-grammar accent to imitate the poor, black people in the book (and I tried REALLY hard not to hold it against the book), but I was actually very shocked! I have to assume that in the book the author actually wrote the sentences with the bad grammar in them and she was not writing conversations from memory — she was not there. This was supposed to be a memoir (of sorts) and she concocted conversations as if she were there… and gave the people bad grammar (and bad accents from the reader) which I am assuming she thought poor, black people in New York have. I felt like the entire book was one HUGE stereotype! It made me sad. I was sad for the little boy in the book and I was sad that the author wrote the book about him in this way. I wonder if he really had NO idea, at 11, how to blow his nose. I wonder if he really had NO idea, at 11, how to use a knife and fork… maybe really bad table manners, perhaps — but couldn’t actually use a knife and fork? She also called the places where the little boy lived “Welfare Hotels” throughout the book. I just don’t think that is okay to call a poor person’s apartment complex a “Welfare Hotel” and she said she visited the little boy’s residence once and she said the entire complex smelled like fried chicken. Again, just not sure any of this was an okay description — it felt wrong to read it (or listen to it, in this case).
The author could have had a great story here, but chose to use stereotype after stereotype that was offensive. I listened to the entire book, but was only moved once or twice. This book should/could have been amazing. Also, I wonder why the co-author was not Maurice, the little boy in the story? I wonder if Maurice would agree with the way she describes him and his life in this book. The Goodreads rating for this book is great, but I completely disagree.
Again, not sure if the reader of the audio book made the book worse, but she sure did not make it better! This one is not on my recommended reading (or listening) list.
Goodreads describes the book:
In the tradition of the New York Times bestseller The Blind Side, The Invisible Thread tells of the unlikely friendship between a busy executive and a disadvantaged young boy, and how both of their lives changed forever.
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