Hope's Boy [NOOK Book]

Overview

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...
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Hope's Boy

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Overview

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.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
A court ruled that his teenage mother was unfit to raise him, but Andrew Bridge disagreed emphatically. In fact, the seven-year-old had to be literally pulled from the arms of the desperate, mentally unstable Hope and tossed thoughtlessly into a muddled foster care system. Andy's new "mother" was an obese Estonian Dachau survivor who seemed intent on transferring her life trauma to a new generation. Somehow, our young memoirist not only survived but also flourished, eventually reuniting with his beloved mother and pursuing a successful legal career. At once, a bittersweet love story about a mother and a son and an inspiring account of achieving against all odds.
Juliet Wittman
Filled with vivid scenes and empathetic description, refreshingly free of the self-absorption that mars so many horrendous childhood sagas, Hope's Boy is compulsively readable.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Bridge's memoir of surviving his childhood in a broken child-care system where the state acts as parents for the young certainly illustrates the complexity of such government institutions. After being removed from his mother by the state, Bridge spent a brief stint in a residential program before being put into foster care. His decade-long stay with an emotionally abusive and unsupportive family left its share of marks, and the book feels like Bridge's attempt to cleanse the taint of the experience. While it does highlight problems of the system, it fails to be anything more than just another story of an unfortunate upbringing. As the story is told through the eyes of a young boy, David Drummond's soft elocution ably puts readers back into that frame. But this doesn't keep Drummond from juggling the range of ages, genders, accents and personalities of the different characters effectively. Although the story isn't extraordinary, Drummond remains consistent and engaging throughout. Simultaneous release with the Hyperion hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 29, 2007). (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
People Magazine
Critics Choice . . . Shocking, inspiring, unforgettable.
Library Journal

In this memoir of a dysfunctional upbringing, Bridge, a Harvard Law School graduate, successfully employs the technique of first presenting an event of the near present, then going back in time to disclose the details of his childhood. As he relates in the prolog, he was involved as a lawyer in a case against an Alabama facility housing teenagers in state care who, though they were not juvenile delinquents, were being treated as such. Knowing that Bridge managed to rise above his unfortunate childhood helps the reader cope with the narration that follows. Bridge first lived with his grandmother until the age of five, while his parents were in prison for check fraud; then he spent two years with his mentally deranged mother before landing for 11 years in foster care, where he endured meanness and loneliness. He kept to himself at school and excelled at his schoolwork, entirely unbeknown to either his foster parents or the foster-care system until, at the age of 18, Bridge won a college scholarship. He went on to attend law school, was a Fulbright Scholar, and later became the CEO/general counsel of the Alliance for Children's Rights. An inspiring account recommended for high school and public libraries.
—Dorris Douglass

From the Publisher
"Andrew Bridge has written an affecting, moving memoir which in the end is a poignant cry for rethinking our foster care system. Hope's Boy will stay with you long after you've put it down."—Alex Kotlowitz

"His story is shocking, inspiring, unforgettable."—People

Alex Kotlowitz
"Andrew Bridge has written an affecting, moving memoir which in the end is a poignant cry for rethinking our foster care system. Hope's Boy will stay with you long after you've put it down."
People
"His story is shocking, inspiring, unforgettable."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401396442
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 2/5/2008
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 212,134
  • File size: 601 KB

Meet the Author

Andrew Bridge earned a scholarship to Wesleyan, and went on to Harvard Law School and was a Fulbright Scholar. He has dedicated his life to giving a voice to the thousands of children tragically reliving his youth by defending the rights of children nationwide. Today, Andrew lives in New York City.
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Read an Excerpt


Hope's Boy


By Andrew Bridge Hyperion Books
Copyright © 2006
Andrew Bridge
All right reserved.


ISBN: 978-1-4013-0322-8


Chapter One My earliest memory of my mother was her absence.

The white clapboard house stood quiet. The sun hung in a barren blue sky. Beyond a patch of yellowing grass was a road, beyond that a great plowed field of stubble. Not a curb nor fence nor even a ditch separated them. Later, the swath of loneliness would remind me of the San Joaquin Valley, the great sink of farmland that descends across California's backside like the dent down a lying man's spine.

I was not a baby, though I had only begun to grow into a boy. Someone must have been left to watch me. Yet, the emptiness lay uninterrupted. If I had been told why I was there, I had forgotten. I remembered only that I was supposed to wait.

"I'll come back for you," my mother had said, kneeling to give me a kiss. "I'll come back for you, Andy. I promise. I'll come back."

IF I HAD answered the questions at school, if I had told the truth and been as honest as my heart had wanted, what words would have come from me? Where would I have started? Everything would have begun with Mom.

She grew up on the eastern plains of Colorado, where the final stretch of the Midwest meets the Rocky Mountains. From a dusty bungalow outside Colorado Springs, she knew Pikes Peak, the summit named for Zebulon Pike-the white man who, after seeing it, tried to climb it and failed, then tried again and got lost. Nearly a centurylater, Katherine Lee Bates, an English teacher from Wellesley College, took a carriage to the top, announced that she had found the Gate of Heaven, and wrote "America the Beautiful" on her way back into town.

My mother's family came from the "dry land" farms in the shadow of the peak, where survival depended on grudging rain and stubborn wits. The high point of my family's wealth came when my mother's grandfather acquired a withered plot, which he passed down to her mother, Katherine Reese. The first woman in family memory to have something more than herself to bring to a marriage, Katherine chose a man who was a generation older than she and who had been gassed as a young soldier in the First World War. He widowed her with their two children: my mother, who had just reached her sixth birthday, and her brother, who was still working toward his third. The local child welfare agency suggested a children's home. In desperation, Katherine married a second man, who shortly thereafter sold Katherine's patch of dirt for promised oil royalties. When the payments never arrived, Katherine's second husband abandoned the family. Katherine had chosen poorly-twice-in a life that offered few accommodations for mistakes. Her daughter and son went in and out of children's homes while she did her best to keep them for as much of their childhoods as she could.

When my mother, Hope, was sixteen years old, she met Wade-a twenty-one-year-old outsider stationed at one of the several military bases nearby. In Katherine's words, Wade was an angry man who loved my mother selfishly. Against Katherine's wishes, my mother dated Wade for nearly a year. She left school in the middle of tenth grade. Then, in a final act of defiance, she married Wade in the town clerk's office a week after her seventeenth birthday.

Following his discharge, Wade convinced my mother to see what they could of the world in a Chevrolet station wagon. They left Colorado, traveling for months on a grand tour of America's dust bowl. When they were in Missouri, they called Katherine to announce my arrival, describing me as a blond baby boy who looked more like him than her. They did what they pleased and stayed where they wanted, paying first with the savings that Katherine gave them, then with bad checks. Outside Bakersfield, California, they were arrested for bank fraud. Barely in their twenties, they were sentenced to state prison. I was not quite four years old when I was sent to live with my grandmother, who had moved to Chicago.

Like Katherine before her, Hope had chosen badly. After her release from prison, with me safe in Chicago, my mother settled in Los Angeles, refused to return to my father, and demanded a divorce. On a bench in a public park, Wade agreed to the breakup, but on his terms. If my mother insisted on retrieving me from Katherine, Wade promised a meager monthly stipend for child support. He refused to pay alimony of any kind. There were no assets to divide. Wade declared that their agreement would remain a private one, without the intervention or enforcement authority of a court. If his young wife refused his offer, if she asked for more, if she went to a judge, Wade reminded her that, with or without legal permission, a little boy would never be hard to steal.

From her own mother, my mother knew how easily a woman could lose a child. She accepted Wade's deal, and in return, he abandoned any claim to me. She kept the boy she loved from the man she despised. Yet even with Wade gone, my mother's fear of losing me always lingered. "You have to be ready," she warned. "Someday, someone may come to take you."

"IT'S TIME TO put that away," Mrs. Gordie yelled over the television's racket from the other side of the living room. I looked up from the floor next to the sofa, noticing the darkened room for the first time. "She said she'd be here at a quarter to six. You don't want to make her wait, do you?" At my knees, an embankment of LEGOs that Mrs. Gordie and her husband had given me as an early Christmas present barely restrained a band of identical plastic dinosaurs-all branded Sinclair Oil across their bellies-that my Grandma Kate regularly stuffed in her purse for me as she left work for home.

Mrs. Gordie's form lingered in the kitchen doorway. "Come on. Let's hurry up, sweetheart." She nodded at the clock on top of the television. "Your grandmother will be here soon. Get your things in your backpack. Kindergarten means homework, doesn't it?" She pointed toward the small pile of chewed pencils and mimeographed alphabet sheets that I had pulled out, then promptly abandoned beside the front door. I shrugged at the clutter and watched Mrs. Gordie disappear back into the kitchen, leaving her husband to watch me. "You've got a birthday coming in February. Six years old means you'll be a big boy. One of the older ones in your class!" she yelled through the door as I began reluctantly dismantling the LEGO barrier. Knowing me well, she cried out again to hurry me along, "But before your birthday, you know, there could still be another present coming for Christmas!"

The Gordies had lived across the street from my grandmother and me for as long as I could remember. Every afternoon, when the school bus dropped me off at the end of the block, Mrs. or Mr. Gordie-occasionally both-was always there, patiently waiting.

Mr. Gordie leaned over the sofa to see if I was doing what his wife had told me. Beneath me, the LEGO wall lay demolished, its bricks broken and scattered into chunks just small enough to be crammed back into the shoebox that he and his wife kept in the coat closet beside the front door. The pocket-size dinosaurs remained tame. From the corner of my eye, I watched Mr. Gordie linger to catch my attention. A smile dashed across his face. He lay back into the sofa and returned to the television's late-afternoon rerun.

"You want the rest of your soda?" he called from the sofa, his face out of view from the floor. His hand appeared over the armrest, dangling a half-empty glass bottle of RC Cola by its lip with his fingertips. I reached, but he plucked it from my grasp. I scrambled for the drink again and he laughed. With my third effort, he surrendered the bottle. "Don't spill that thing or we'll both have hell to pay. I can promise you that," he cautioned, leaning over the edge and shaking his head. After securing the bottle with both hands, I pressed its base into the dusty carpet between the sofa and me.

Our apartment in Lincoln Park was just north of downtown Chicago, a few train stops from the Loop, where my grandmother worked as a secretary at Sinclair Oil. She did her best to get off work no later than five in the evening, sometimes skipping lunch to beat the clock. During the summer, she might do a little shopping on the way home, taking advantage of the late sunlight. But the winter sun rested early, and she disliked being out alone at night. With the evening and the chill, she rushed home. Mrs. Gordie teased her regularly about it. "My goodness, Katherine, try living a little, for God's sake. Who stuffed you with such an old, anxious soul? What are you, thirty-seven, maybe thirty-eight?"

My grandmother nodded back, inevitably declining to answer Mrs. Gordie's bigger question and sticking to the smaller. "I'm forty-three."

By the late sixties, when my grandmother arrived with me in tow, the grandeur of the Lincoln Park neighborhood was in steep decline. The redbrick row houses where we and the Gordies lived had been divided and redivided, stretching into rows of tenements where a half dozen families might squeeze into the space that only one family had occupied in better years. The kindergarten and elementary school where my grandmother enrolled me eventually fed their charges to Waller High, which Chicago's Board of Education later renamed Lincoln Park High in a vain effort to shake loose the school's reputation for violence.

Mr. Gordie's afternoon Western was exploding into a final round of gunfire, and my grandmother's faint knock was nearly lost in the volley. But expecting it, I dashed to the front door and found my grandmother on the porch, a small bag of groceries under one arm and her bulky purse hanging at her side. Bundled for the cold, she wore a heavy overcoat that she had bought from a woman at church, dark gloves, and a small yellow knit hat over a head of thick gray and black hair. She was a young-looking woman with strong, dark eyes, though lines creased her forehead, especially when she scowled. She wore lipstick, but reserved it exclusively for work. With me at her side, she was often confused for my mother. But each time-regardless of the place, person, or circumstance-I jumped to correct the error. "She's not my mom," I lectured ignorant strangers. "She's my grandmother." Then I pointed at her to confirm what seemed to me an apparent fact. "She's old."

Still waiting on the porch in the cold night air, my grandmother peered into the Gordies' apartment, then adjusted her grocery bag. "Grandma's sorry she's late."

Lying on the sofa, Mr. Gordie lifted his hand in recognition. "Hello, Miss Katherine," he yelled across the room before slumping back to the television.

"Did you get enough TV?" she asked me.

I smiled and without a word retrieved my coat and backpack from the living-room floor. Mrs. Gordie reappeared from the kitchen, and my grandmother apologized again.

"Don't you want to come in, Katherine?" Mrs. Gordie asked, folding her arms from the open door's chill.

"Oh, he won't take long with his coat." My grandmother threw me a glance to hurry up. "We really have to get home. Maybe tomorrow night."

Outside, the lingering clouds of an evening flurry warmed the air a little. Locked in ice and buried up to their bumpers, neighbors' cars rested like great metal fossils, waiting for discovery with the first slush of spring. Clutching my hand, my grandmother steadied her footing down the stairs of the Gordies' frozen porch, onto the softly packed sidewalk. We reached the first of two ridges of crusted snow mounded over the curbs of the neighborhood's streets. She lifted my arm to help me scale it. Over the ice crest, I twisted my hand from her grasp, darted into the middle of the street, looked back, and teased her with a smile.

She glanced to the left, then to the right, down the long, white canal. Without a moving car or person in sight, she raised her eyebrows and grinned, nodding her head to accept the challenge. She dropped her purse in the grocery bag, then with her free arm, slowly reached to her side for a fistful of snow. I hastily fell to my knees, began packing together my own ball. She lobbed one, deliberately missing me by inches. Still at the curb, she waited, unarmed and laughing. I fired back, but the toss was weak, dropping closer to me than to her. She bent to gather a second round. My fate sealed, I scrambled across the second embankment of ice, onto the sidewalk, to the row house where we lived. Crouched behind the stairs, my hands stinging from the cold, I listened for the coming onslaught. I peeked over the railing. My exhausted grandmother appeared in front of me, one hand clutching her grocery bag and the other holding the backpack that I had left in the street. Not a snowball was in sight.

"Come on, sweetheart," she sighed. "It's time to get inside."

Our boots crusted with snow, we trudged up the four flights of stairs, passed our neighbors' well-secured doors, and finally reached our own. Balancing the groceries on a lifted knee, she fumbled inside the grocery sack for her purse and keys, unlocked the first and second dead bolts, then the doorknob that she complained was useless anyway. We stomped our feet just outside the opened door, leaving a jumble of snow prints on the hallway's threadbare carpet.

My grandmother grinned down at me. "Good enough to scare away the prowlers?" I nodded in agreement. She reached inside, flipped the wall switch, and led the way.

The two of us crowded into the apartment's small foyer. My grandmother quickly shut the door, flipped the dead bolts back into place, then twisted the button on the knob sideways and softly ran her fingertips across it, making certain that she had gotten it right. She latched the chain, took a final look at the secured barrier, and when assured that everything was as it needed to be, turned toward the apartment's cold, unlit rooms. She stepped forward and I scooted behind. She slipped off my backpack, which I grabbed with both hands. I waited at the threshold of my darkened room and watched as she passed through the apartment leaving a chain of light behind her. Then, with every other room ablaze, I turned to mine.

I plunked my backpack onto my bedroom dresser, disturbing the clutter of books that my grandmother bought from catalogs and that arrived at the beginning of every month addressed to me. As always, she had made the twin bed that morning, and now in the evening shadow, the tucked bedcover rested smooth as ink. I flopped down, my legs hanging at the side, my ears and nose still cold from the trek across the street. Tired, my mind emptied slowly into the raven night of the room's deepening corners.

Down the hallway, my grandmother dropped the grocery bag on the kitchen table, walked back across the wooden floor to the living room, and was now struggling with the radiator knob.

"Andy, after supper, do you want me to read some of your Bible to you for Sunday school?" she hollered through the wall. "We can practice learning that story your teacher assigned you in class." The radiator sputtered with steam. She turned back for the kitchen. "Is that all right with you, Andy?" Her footsteps halted in the hallway as she strained to tug off her wet boots. "Did you hear me? I asked if-"

"Yeah," I hollered just to give her something. Her lightened steps drifted back toward the kitchen. I slid off my bed, wandered to the cold of the bay window that, even with my eyes adjusted to the dark, barely lit the room. I gazed down at the clean view of the street where, across and several houses down, a gray rectangle of light marked the apartment where Mrs. Gordie, finished with the cooking, must have sat down for dinner with her husband in front of the television.

"Andy, could you come in here and give Grandma a hand?" My grandmother's voice echoed from the kitchen into my room. I glanced at the door, then up at the old walls that framed it. Long, bent cracks spread down the chipping plaster. I thought of the legs of a stalking arachnid dangling around the sides of the room, its hairy abdomen having descended from a silky wisp overhead.

"Andy!" she cried again.

I sprang to the hallway and the kitchen. The table was set for two.

"Are you hungry, honey? Grandma got spaghetti for dinner." She stirred a battered aluminum pot on the stove. "Why don't you put the empty cans in that grocery sack and throw 'em away for me?" She lifted the sauce-covered spoon to point at the containers on the counter next to her, then to the paper bag upright in the middle of the room. I looked at the kitchen door leading to the balcony, then back at her. She rolled her eyes, exhaling loudly. "Sweetheart, it's just outside. I'm really too tired for this tonight." She returned to her stirring. "Come on, let's be a good boy, and help Grandma out."

I dropped the cans loudly into the bag and dragged it across the floor. Reaching the door, I pushed it open, inviting in the cold and stepping into the night. Across the wooden balcony, the kitchen light beamed across several patches of rough ice that had frozen from the winter's melted snow.

"Don't forget to close the door, sweetheart," my grandmother yelled from the stove. "Remember how I told you heat's expensive?"

(Continues...)




Excerpted from Hope's Boy by Andrew Bridge Copyright © 2006 by Andrew Bridge. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 31 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(23)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Hope's Boy is a touching story.

    Hope's Boy is a biography of Andrew Bridge's life as he remembers growing up within the California Foster Care System. He survived a loveless foster home although they cared for him the entire eleven years he lived in foster care. It is a touching story about how he used his schooling and teachers to get through each day and never gave up on all the love he had for his mother who left in the foster system. What Andrew didn't know was that his mother was institutionalized during most of his foster care years. Read this book to understand how he grew into a professional lawyer as well as an advocate to helping children living in the foster care system.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not so much

    I hate to sound unsympathetic, but as I neared the end of the book, I found Andy less and less 'likeable.' I love memoirs, I love against-all-odds story, but what I kept picking up from the book was a 'poor me' attitude. The italicized lines maddened me because he should have spoken up. I tend to think maybe the Leonards weren't quite as bad as he made them sound, and even if they are, they still gave him so much. They changed their license to keep him, he could have been shuffled around A LOT more and been dealt a much worse destiny. My own mother was more like Mrs. Leonard, but Andy had known pure unconditional love from not one person, but 2. I could have hoped for so much. When he said things like they didn't ask for weeks where the college was, why didn't he open up and offer more? He is as guilty for the relationship as they are. He did not open up to them or others and I guess I just found that frustrating, like he may have missed the whole lesson there for the reason for his life. It did not inspire me, it left me just a little annoyed after awhile at all his negative portrayals of everyone. I wish for him tolerance, love, healing, peace....

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2009

    Inspirational

    The human spirit is alive in Hope's Boy as the reader is taken on a heartwrenching journey with this young man who survives against seemingly insurmountable odds. It is extremely well written and highly recommended for anyone who has ever known or worked with children in foster care, but certainly not limited to that profession.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2009

    English 12 block 7th

    Hope's boy a memoir is a shocking, inspiring, and unforgettable story about Andrew Bridge. Andrew and is mother hope shared a love for a son and mother unheard of and was moving to everybody. But as hopes mental health steadily declined, the authorities took Andrew out her screaming arms at the age of seven. After that hope was institutionalized. And Andrew was placed in a foster care for the time being. After awhile Andrew was thrust into a savagely loveless foster family that refused to accept him as one of there own. Since his foster family didn't accept him as their own he grew on to academics and the kindness of his teachers. He had a deep feeling in side of him for his mother that the family didn't approve of. That probably why they didn't accept him was there own and he wanted his own last name not there foster families last name. Since Andrew had a liking for academics, he earned a scholarship to Wesleyan, and later moved on to Harvard law school and became a Fulbright scholar. The reason being the novel is so inspiring, is because he was forced out of his mother hopes arms screaming because they shared a deep love. But she couldn't take care of him at the age of seven, let alone her self with her mental health decaling so dramatically. And he was faced with that and he had to over come being apart for his mother at a young age and later had a successful life. It's amazing how you can have a dermaic childhood and then come back and have a successful life. He was a graduate of Harvard and later became the CEO/general counsel of the Alliance for Children's Rights. Because of his childhood experience. He didn't other children have the same experience he did. He believed if you were placed in a foster home you shouldn't have a terrible experience. You should live life how you want to. Not how your foster family wants you to be. The novel was to me, inspiring, amazing, and turning the odds against faith. I think no other memoir can even compete to this novel. Because the story of Andrew bridge it tells. To me Andrew Bridge over came everything to get what he wanted. He is inspiring person to me and if you read this novel he will soon be inspiring to you also.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Must Read.....

    This was a great book. One that you can't put down. The story of this boy growning up in foster care is moving, and you never have a hard time putting yourself right in his place, and feeling what he was feeling. I am happy that he was courageous enough to share his story with the world, because it is a truly amazing one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2008

    A tribute to Hope, Healing and Overcoming

    Hope's Boy'- A memoir written by Andrew Bridge made me cry. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons! This young man accomplishes the seemingly impossible with the courage and grace of a champion. None of us chooses our parents - but rarely does life dole out the circumstances and conditions that are handed to Andy. Imagine being six years old living with a mother who is loving but definitely showing signs of mental illness. Hope'his mother' hears voices and has frequent breakdowns on the street. She is a victim of a broken home 'herself' and of poverty, facing life on the streets of Hollywood and North Hollywood at the age of 22 with a young boy in tow. The young mother tries to get a job and is even helped by a few good samaritans but eventually she is overcome by the stress and circumstances of being mentally ill with all that that implies. I am happy when the county takes Andy from his mother, but that happiness quickly turns to sadness and disbelief when he encounters the horrors at MCLaren Hall and the sadistic treatment from his foster mother.'herself a child of the holocaust.' Being innately bright and with a will to survive and keep his 'hope' alive 'of being reunited with his mother or grandmother', Andy learns how to keep out of trouble by being invisible and not making waves. He does what he is told and eventually finds some acceptance and 'normalcy' by being an academic achiever. None of this brings him what he longs for and needs more than anything else in this world,the unconditional love of a caring human being. While the love being offered to him by his mother was by no means perfect he innately knows that it was the 'real thing'. No one can or will provide him with this love. Not his social workers, who rarely or never ask how he is being treated , not his foster-siblings who barely tolerate their mother's desire for taking in homeless children, not his teachers who although impressed with his mind do not give more than the prefunctory grades and accolades and not even the friendship usually shared with classmates and friends. He loses his childhood but eventually emerges as a strong accomplished man eager to help other children like him deal with the weaknessess, inconsistencies and abuses of the institutionalized and foster-care children of this nation. Congratulations Andy and I pray that through this book you may someday find your true brother Jason whom I can tell you truly have learned to love. May God bless you!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2008

    Wake Up Call to Juvenile & FamilyLaw - You're Doing More HamThan Good!

    His plight with a mentally ill parent is all too common. The system is not trained, equpped or willing to acknowledge that it often doing more harm than good for children and families. The system permits a mentally ill . malcious parent to harass the other parent using the courts, attorneys, minors counsels, social workers, teachers, police, DMV, Animal Control, health department and collabotors via 'anonymous' complaints and judges stand back and say and do nothing to protect the children caught in the middle of these sociopathetic games. Instead of removing the offending parent - they remove the children - which brings in hundreds of millions of dollars to county and state coffers. The foster families and focster care agencies also engage in malacious practices to prolong the term of foster care and their own selfish financial interests. The system if broken - and the only people making out are the people who get paid to keep iy broken. Also, CPSD/DCFS laws are unconstituional - parents are deemed guilty until proven innovent! Parents have to prove they did nothing to their children - all driven by false allegations or innuendos. Protect our children from well-meaning people and institutions.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2008

    A Stunning Honest Book of Triumph

    A friend of mine who's works at an independent book store gave me an advance reading copy of Hope's Boy. I read it in three days. Bridge has written the incredible story of his mother, her final fall into psychosis and his childhood in foster care. It's a devastating written story about the binds between a mother and child, and Bridge's ultimate success despite the profound loss of his mother. I especially admired his ability to describe his mother's mental collapse in precise language -- which he himself witnessed -- free of the overly sentimental writing we see so much of today. You put the book down and it still stays with you. Bridge has done an incredible job.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    David the boss

    Good book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    !!!

    Very good book! I rate it a four only because i had hard time understanding and getting into it, but after i di i absolutely loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2011

    fantastic

    this was a very moving biography. i could not put it down. i cried at the end, but eas so happy that andy fought to help other children in foster care.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2008

    Riveting, Amazing memoir. Bridge is a saint with all he's accomplished helping children in his career!

    Very moving memoir, made me cry. Fantastic read! Astonished that sweet innocent children have to be paired up with dysfunctional foster parents.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2008

    A step in the right direction.

    I found this book to be deeply moving. I applaud Mr. Bridges in bringing to light the horrors we as children of the mentally ill endure. It is obvious that Mr. Bridges has a deep love for his mother. Hopefully as awareness of mental illness raises so does awareness of what we the children of the mentally ill endure-some put in the system, others, like myself and siblings, ignored by the system and left to be abused. This story is one facet of a many faceted problem.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2007

    Didn't Want to Put it Down

    Hope's Boy is a devastating memoir of what can become of young mothers and children living on society's margins. Painful and honest, the story offers insights into the terrible impacts of mental illness and poverty, into our too often bungling child welfare system, and into how much love can bear and survive. Written with breathtaking care and precision, the book is a must read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2007

    Loved this Book!

    A powerful memoir that makes an incredible plea for better the lives of our poorest children and the foster care system generally. The book describes a savage children's institution, a loveless foster family, and a seven year boy who succeeds despite it all. A great story, wonderfully written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2007

    A reviewer

    Hope's Boy is remarkably moving account of overcoming profound tragedy. I was lucky to get an advanced reading copy of the book from a friend. Searing, beautiful, and inspiring.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2007

    Profoundly Moving

    Andrew Bridge has produced an absolutely extraordinarily first time book and memoir about a childhood in foster care and a mother too flawed to keep him but who loved him desperately. The writing careful, even reserved -- never overdone. The story is incredible.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2008

    Hope's Boy

    Like Andrew Bridge, I am an attorney. I, too, have represented many children who were removed from their parents because they needed protection or help at a particular time, only to suffer years of additional trauma and loss at the hands of the very systems and people that were supposed to be helping them. Bridge's memoir is a powerful example of the importance of the principle 'First, do no harm!' For all of us who are committed to helping, Bridge's book is a necessary and painful reminder that we must be ever mindful of the unintended but devastating consequences our actions in the name of helping can have. It is also a necessary and humbling reminder that love and a sense of belonging can never be replaced by even the best of our intentions and interventions. It should be required reading for social workers, lawyers, judges and policy makers working with and on behalf of children who are physically separated from their parents and other family members.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2008

    Hope's Boy

    I was delighted to read Hope's Boy. It reminds me why I¿m a social worker. Connections with others, and the need for them, are at our core. They are powerful and enduring, as is the sense of loss when they are broken. In Bridge¿s case, social workers and the foster care system broke his physical connections to his mother and grandmother. As social workers, our role is to support, honor and do everything we can to sustain the core bond between parent and child. We failed to do that for Bridge. Despite our failures, Bridge held close his memories of Hope, developing his own extraordinary capacity for resilience. He lends a powerful voice to so many foster children who have learned to ¿be still,¿ who continue to long for their own enduring bond with a forever parent. We can and must do better for them. Thanks again for a wonderful reminder of our responsibility to nurture resilience and hope in all children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2008

    A reviewer

    I was deeply moved by 'Hope's Boy,' Andrew Bridge's haunting elegy of a childhood that seemed to be lost forever when Andrew, at age 7, became a ward of the State after being taken from the arms of his young mother on a street corner in North Hollywood. Andrew's unsparing chronicle of his experiences on the front lines of our nation's foster care system -- including his time in a facility that seemed more like a prison camp, and his rearing by a sadistic foster mother, who herself was a prison camp survivor -- opened my eyes more widely to the system's endemic problems than any piece of investigative journalism on the subject ever could. But, at its core, Andrew's book is a heartbreaking, unforgettable love story about a mother and her son. Even though Andrew's mother, Hope, appears intermittently throughout his memoir, I felt her presence, even in her absence, on every single page of his book. I don't know that I've ever read anything more powerful about love and loss than Andrew's searing prose about his mother's embrace as she struggled to hold onto him when he was being pried from her arms. And ultimately, I was inspired by how Hope's love gave Andrew the strength to pursue, and, ultimately, achieve his goals. The adult Andrew has given a proud, defiant voice to the boy and his mother. I, for one, am glad to have heard them and hope that many others will too.

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