The Glass Ocean

An Invisible Thread

by Laura Schroff

Overview: When Laura Schroff brushed by a young panhandler on a New York City corner one rainy afternoon, something made her stop and turn back. She took the boy to lunch at the McDonald’s across the street that day. And she continued to go back, again and again for the next four years until both their lives had changed dramatically. Nearly thirty years later, that young boy, Maurice, is married and has his own family. Now he works to change the lives of disadvantaged kids, just like the boy he used to be.

An Invisible Thread is the true story of the bond between a harried sales executive and an eleven-year-old boy who seemed destined for a life of poverty. It is the heartwarming story of a friendship that has spanned three decades and brought meaning to an over-scheduled professional and hope to a hungry and desperate boy living on the streets.

Faith Bowers (10/16/18): I finished this heart felt and warm memoir in a few hours. The chance meeting between a busy women executives and a boy pan handler in NYC turned into a friendship where both learned a lot from each other. Though they were seemingly from very different worlds many of their complicated loves between their parents and these two were very similar. Surviving abuse crosses both race and class. I am 6 years younger than Laura but I grew up on LI and recognized all the places she wrote about in this story which was another enjoyable part of this book for me. I
Rating: ****

Elaine Marlin (09/21/18): This is a true story, written in the first person by Laura Schroff. She starts to write about her life right before a life changing moment. At the time she was 35 years old, single, and applying for a job selling ads at an agency. She lives in Manhattan, and is quite content with her small apartment and her life. She takes an unusual walk to get fresh air one day, and is approached by an 11 year old African American boy (later we find out he was 12, but that does not make any difference to the story). He is panhandling, and asks her for change, and looks so scruffy and dirty, and just like the hundreds of others around Laura, she passes him by without a thought. Then half way across the Avenue, she stands in the street, then returns to him and offers to take him for a meal at McDonalds! So starts the incredible friendship of these two very different individuals.

Laura graduated High School in 1970. I graduated in 1971, so all of the events seem to ring very true to my upbringing, in Miami. So many of her friends question her motives, and the safety and propriety, etc of this pairing of souls. As the years go on, we find out that Maurice, the boy, lives a horrible existence with all members of his adult family, drug addicts/and or users. He has never eaten with his family at a real table, he has no idea how to use utensils, and is doing horribly in school.

Laura peers into her own childhood/teen years with a tremendous candid lens. From page one, this book pulled me in. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to delve into the inner workings of human kindness. Through the years, they meet regularly and more than that, they become "family". I hope she publishes another book.
Rating: *****

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