November 1, 2016
Finished: The Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski
I read this book by accident. My mom asked me to put it on hold for her at the library, and when it came in, I completely forgot it was for her. I damn near returned it before she saw it on my kitchen island and thanked me for it.
The Invisible Thread is the story of the unlikely friendship between the author, a busy, successful businesswoman, and Maurice, an 11-year-old panhandling boy trying to survive a largely un-survivable neighborhood and life. After their first meeting, they forge a long-term connection that changes and sustains them both.
I can understand certain criticisms of this book, among them, that the author was treading a fine line of helping and potentially hurting this child, and that it felt like she abandoned him when she met her husband. But throughout the book, and in the end, Maurice feels like he’s got someone in his corner, and I can’t imagine him being any worse off for their friendship than had he not had it at all. Friendships come in all sizes and shapes, and none are perfect. The author and Maurice, now grown with his own family, both seem genuinely happy and grateful that they’ve had and have each other, and that’s good enough for me.
There are some parts—the poverty and neglect of Maurice’s home life—that are hard to read. But it’s heartwarming too, and I’m glad I accidentally read it.
Finished: Crash by Jerry Spinelli
Jack, my ten-year-old, brought this home from school, and when I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. It is a fabulous story about John “Crash” Coogan, a cocky seventh grade jock who bullies a kind, sweetly-naïve Quaker boy, Penn Webb, until Crash gradually figures out that Penn might actually have a handle on things that are more important than being able to knock someone 10 yards down a football field. Crash is a lot like Wonder, by R.J. Palacio (written way before Wonder), a simple yet profound story, with so many characters to love and learn from.
I can’t help but note what a great book this is not only for readers, but writers. It is a fantastic, clear, concise study of story structure, increasing conflict, elevating stakes, and tension, all at a level that a fifth grader—and I!—can absorb.
I loved this book.