27 reviews

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, Alex Tresniowski

Published: 2011-11-01
Hardcover : 272 pages
59 members reading this now
140 clubs reading this now
29 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 25 of 27 members
The beloved #1 New York Times bestseller chronicles the lifelong friendship between a busy sales executive and a disadvantaged young boy that began with one small gesture of kindness, this is a “ray of hope for a better future, as well as an assurance that love is a stronger force than ...
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The beloved #1 New York Times bestseller chronicles the lifelong friendship between a busy sales executive and a disadvantaged young boy that began with one small gesture of kindness, this is a “ray of hope for a better future, as well as an assurance that love is a stronger force than injustice and inequality” (Sybrina Fulton, mother of Travyon Martin and coauthor of Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin).

Stopping was never part of the plan...

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.

Whatever made me notice him on that street corner so many years ago is clearly something that cannot be extinguished, no matter how relentless the forces aligned against it. Some may call it spirit. Some may call it heart. It drew me to him, as if we were bound by some invisible, unbreakable thread. And whatever it is, it binds us still.?

Now with new material that brings the life-changing story up to date for its tenth anniversary, An Invisible Thread is “a book capable of restoring our faith in each other and in the very idea that maybe everything is going to be okay after all” (Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Pay It Forward).

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Discussion Questions

From the author's website:

1. An Invisible Thread introduces readers to some of the realities of poor families living in large metropolitan cities. How would you characterize Maurice’s family life? What kind of differences do you think exist between urban and rural poverty?

2. Why do you think Maurice throws Laura’s business card away? How does trust influence the early stages of their friendship? What about later in their relationship

3. Laura’s grandfather would say “Il solo tempo lei dovrebbe baciare i sue bambini in quango dormono,” or “The only time you should kiss your children is when they are asleep.” What kind of role does love and affection play in Maurice’s life? What about Laura’s?

4. Why is Laura so adamant about obtaining permission from Maurice’s mother so he can attend the Mets game?

5. In what ways is privilege evident in An Invisible Thread?  What types of privilege can you identify? How would you compare and contrast this privilege in the 1980s with today?

6. Why do you think Laura stayed with Michael, even though he denied her what she wanted more than anything?

7. Laura’s family life growing up had a significant impact on her and her siblings, especially in terms of what they wanted for their own families. Based on Laura’s descriptions, how would you characterize the lives of the siblings’ individual families?

8. Laura writes how “Sometimes we are drawn to that which is exactly the same” alluding to the impact that familiarity can have on one’s comfort, regardless of how bad the conditions may be. How does Laura’s life stray from this idea? How does she embrace what is different?

9. How did you interpret Michael’s initial rejection of Maurice? What role did this rejection play in Laura’s decision to divorce him?

10. The title, An Invisible Thread suggests several meanings about the bonds that connect us with others. Describe how these themes are reflected in Maurice’s and Laura’s lives, as well as in their relationships with other people.

11. Laura later discovers that Maurice was actually twelve when they first met, not eleven, because he wasn’t even sure himself how old he was. How does this detail signify the importance of identity in An Invisible Thread?

12. Laura was initially careful to maintain boundaries between her and Maurice, ensuring that she was a friend to him and nothing more. At what point do you think their relationship changed from a friendship to something more akin to a mother and a son?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Rituals are an important element of An Invisible Thread. Take a moment to discuss your favorite ritual with your book club as a child and explain why it was so important to you, even to this day.

2. Pack up your book club for a day and see a baseball game. Reflect on Maurice’s feelings of wonderment at his first baseball game. What is your favorite part of a baseball game or of attending a sporting event?

3. Using a smartphone, scan the Microsoft Tag in the back of An Invisible Thread, and watch Maurice’s toast at Laura’s fiftieth birthday dinner. Discuss the highlights and your reaction among your book club.

Suggested by Members

Are there differences between urban poor and rural poor
Journey through life
by hans22 (see profile) 11/04/14

The book contained good questions.
by blynnewesc (see profile) 01/25/14

was she ever in danger by helping maurese
by ZMONROEZ (see profile) 07/15/13

This book gave us a lot to talk about. We really don't know how little some people have. Very informative.
by suemoros (see profile) 06/29/12

Ask if they would do what she did in the book.
by DebbiJ (see profile) 06/28/12

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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