12 January 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Hope’s Boy by Andrew Bridge

Wow. I read a lot of memoirs and all touch my life in some way or give me a new perspective, but few have to the depths that Andy’s book has. I listened to it on audio and not only is the story compelling, but the narrator (David Drummond) does an amazing job of transporting you into Andy’s life. I spent a good deal of time trying to swallow down the lump that kept forming in my throat listening to the narrative.

I won’t rehash the plot, but with each successive move in his life, I was left to wonder where the people were that were supposed to be taking care of him. He seemed… a border. How can a child live in your home for eleven years and you not fall in love with him? How can you hang up the phone and not care when he calls you with devastating news? These are the things I was left asking myself.

Even more compelling was his epilogue. I really want to hear more about his life in college. I cannot imagine the struggle he went through after moving out. How about his life now? It seems he does amazing work. Hopefully he’ll do a follow up. Or maybe not. Either way, he’s definitely brought some attention to the problem and, for that, he should be extremely happy.

This book made me want to reach through the pages/words and grab little Andy and take care of him. Give him a popsicle, sit on the steps outside with him and ask him how his day was at school. I wanted to give him a hug and tell him that he was loved.

Don’t miss this one. It will tear your heart out, but I learned a lot. I guess I never gave much thought to the foster care system or how it has evolved (or not). It made me think. Yes, it made me smile a few times – and also shed a tear or two.

Description from the Website:
From the moment he was born, Andrew Bridge and his mother Hope shared a love so deep that it felt like nothing else mattered. Trapped in desperate poverty and confronted with unthinkable tragedies, all Andrew ever wanted was to be with his mom. But as her mental health steadily declined, and with no one else left to care for him, authorities arrived and tore Andrew from his screaming mother’s arms. In that moment, the life he knew came crashing down around him. He was only seven years old. Hope was institutionalized, and Andrew was placed in what would be his devastating reality for the next eleven years – foster care. After surviving one of our country’s most notorious children’s facilities, Andrew was thrust into a savagely loveless foster family that refused to accept him as one of their own. Deprived of the nurturing he needed, Andrew clung to academics and the kindness of teachers. All the while, he refused to surrender the love he held for his mother in his heart.

Ultimately, Andrew earned a scholarship to Wesleyan, went on to Harvard Law School, and became a Fulbright Scholar. Andrew has dedicated his life’s work to helping children living in poverty and in the foster care system. He defied the staggering odds set against him, and here in this heartwrenching, brutally honest, and inspirational memoir, he reveals who Hope’s boy really is.

Rating: ★★★★★

Book count for 2010: 4

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