It’s time for another book review here on the blog. I’m a few days early this time around as I finished my monthly reads early. So rather than wait until the last day of the month, as I’ve done since starting my blog, I decided to post now.
I admit that I have been a bit reluctant in posting the reviews lately because I’ve been getting a strong hunch that no one will read them on here. That’s part of the reason I missed February’s review, even though I had a book that I was ready to talk about. Personal blogger’s discouragement…
 However, since I missed February, I now have two books to talk about in this review, so it’s double the fun. The reviews are mostly to help me after I finish a book, as it’s sort of like a mini book report. Writing them helps me to retain what I have read and allows me to analyze what I got out of reading it.
So whether or not if anyone reads the reviews, for now, I still intend to write them.
So the first book that I have to present is an autobiography that is fairly good. It’s called An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski.
An Invisible Thread Book Cover
This book tells the heartwarming true story about a woman and a young boy, and their unlikely but unique friendship by way of a simple act of kindness. I’m not going to go into their story too much with this review as the book can clearly speak for itself and doesn’t need my commentary. I highly recommend that you read it for yourselves and decide what you think of it rather than going by my review here. But I will say that out of all of the books that I have read in the past that share similarity to this one, this particular story is probably the most touching (the brown bag story that is mentioned in here had me in tears, seriously).
To give you a quick synopsis of the story, Laura Schroff, a sales business executive encounters Maurice Maczyk, a young panhandler on a street corner in Manhattan, New York in the 1980s. After being turned down when he asked Laura for money for food, she at first ignores Maurice and keeps walking. But a second later, she stops, turns back around and walks back to him, agreeing to take him to McDonalds for lunch rather than give him money. And it’s this simple act that sparks a lifelong friendship between the 35 year old woman and the 11 year old boy that has lasted up to the present day.
I won’t go into the details of their story. As I said, the best thing to do in order to fully grasp and appreciate Laura’s and Maurice’s story is to read the book for yourselves. It’s a quick read as it only took me about 2-3 days to read it; it’s captivating, if nothing else. I couldn’t put it down.
I usually like to wait until the end of my review to rate a book. But this time, I’m rating it before I finish my review as I want to say why I gave it the kind of rating that I did. I give An Invisible Thread a 3 out of 5. While Laura’s and Maurice’s story was touching and very heart warming, I found it to be somewhat “sub par” as far as how it was written. If you recall back when I was posting my reviews on Salazar’s blog, 14 Shades of Grey, I reviewed another book that had a similar feel to it called I Will Always Write Back, co-authored by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda. They were pen pals that wrote to each other with the girl, Caitlin, becoming friends with Martin and the two helped each other in their own unique way. Another book I read a few years back was called Hope Runs, co-authored by Claire Diaz and Samual Ikua Gachagua. This is also very similar to the current book that I am reviewing here. But notice what I said for both of these books that I mentioned. They were co-authored by the people who’s stories were being told, not by an outside party. Caitlin, Martin, Claire and Samual all have one thing in common: they each told their story from their point of view. That, I believe, makes for a stronger, more believable way of co-authoring a book, which they have all done with their respective books. But this did not happen with An Invisible Thread. Throughout the whole book, we only hear from Laura’s point of view. We never see or hear Maurice’s point of view at all. I mean sure we hear Maurice’s side and about his life, which is great. But it’s all from Laura’s viewpoint. I feel that this greatly weakened the overall flow and story telling element that the other books I mentioned above managed to have. And I found it strange that the person who co-authored the book with Laura, is not really a part of Laura’s and Maurice’s story and only gets a sort of “honorable mention” in the dedication portion at the book’s end.
So that was a bit of a let down while reading this book. I still think that it’s a great inspirational story and I’m glad that I found it, which originally was by way of a children’s Christmas book of the same name, that tells a very condensed version of their experience. But I think that it would have made for better reading if Maurice had more of a say so and told his part of their experience rather than have Laura tell it all.
Another thing that sort of weakened the book was how Laura would “interrupt” herself in the middle of telling a story about her and Maurice and suddenly shift over to an incident that happened in her past, usually involving her relationship with her father. And while this adds great dynamics in how her past coincides with Maurice’s, I felt that it broke up too much of the overall story, as it happened within the same chapter oftentimes. I think it would have flowed better if she had given these excerpts of her past their own chapter as it would allow the reader to have a better sense of continuity and good “reader flow” (my own personal phrase) and eliminate confusion.
But other than these two flaws, the book was still very good and I enjoyed reading it. It again reminds me that people can have love and care for each other, despite outside appearances and differences. The heart is what matters most. And if you enjoy these kinds of real life stories, you will love this book. Go read it!
Okay, so the next book that I have to present to you is also an autobiography, like the last one. It’s called Threading My Prayer Rug by Sabeeha Rehman.
I’ve made mention of this book several times in previous reviews and now I finally can write a review on it. This is the book that my newly formed book club (outside of the blog) chose to read for March. And why not? March is Women’s History Month after all. So how perfect is this that I get to read about a great woman? I’d say that the timing was impeccable.
And once again, I will give my disclaimer about not being judgmental about someone’s life, but rating the book solely on how it was written.
Mrs. Rehman, in my opinion, did a superb job in conveying to her readers her story and really brought to life her experience as a young immigrant in the US during the 1970s. She has a way of telling you a story based on truth by telling it like a story. It was like reading a novel and oftentimes, I felt that I was reading a novel, as opposed to an autobiography. It’s witty, clever, sarcastic (without being mean) and directly personal. What I mean by that is, she will often write as if she is talking directly to the reader. For example, she will often make reference to life in how it was before the whole 21st century phenomenon came about and the majority of the world’s population lives off of their smart phones. And at least twice in the book, she refers to the younger generation as “Millennials” (those of us born between the mid 1980s and the late 2000s). I recall her mentioning the use of a phone book, and she briefly explained to the “Millennials” that that was what people used before the era of smart and iPhones. I’m sort of in between the “Generation X” and “Millennial” eras, so much of what she refers to, I know about. And yes, I have actually used a phone book in my time as well as a rotary dial phone!
Homework assignment: go look up rotary dial phone if you don‘t know what that is. 😛
So it’s the clever way of writing (like what I explained above) that she uses that makes this a great and captivating read. And of course, her story is quite fascinating as well. It is a wonderful book for everyone (for both Muslim and non-Muslim readers) and I guarantee that you will not be able to put this book down. At least, I wasn’t able to.
So overall, I give Threading My Prayer Rug a 5 out of 5.
Be sure to check back here next month to see what book, or books I managed to get my hands on next. And be sure to check Salazar’s blog, 14 Shades of Grey, to catch her reads for March as well. We’re trying to expand our book club here on our respective blogs so feel free to join in! Later!

2 thoughts on “February & March Book Reviews 2017

  1. Both books sound incredibly interesting and I would certainly look out for the first one – it sounds most compelling!
    Ugrh, I STILL haven’t written up my March reviews and here we are nearly in May! Noooo! I KNOW I should just do them when I’ve finished the book but I fail to do so and then I have forgotten so many details about a book once I am onto the next one. Considering I usually read between 8-10 books a month, it then becomes an overly arduous task! Sigh….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, both books were great reads and I enjoyed them both, even if the first one had a few flaws.

      Yeah, I know what you mean, Kezzie. I too sometimes fall short in finishing my book reviews on time and the longer I wait, the harder it is to write them. When I was reading through the “Taj Mahal” series a while back, I had to write those reviews right after I finished each book because they were extremely detailed; many characters, multiple plots, etc.

      I still need to finish the current book I’m reading and write my review for it but I have one other review already done, as I finished a book earlier this month. Should have both of them up by the 30th!

      You and Salazar are amazing! You both read so many books in a month! I wish I could do that! And since you do book reviews as well, I’ll link up to your blog like I do Salazar’s when I hold my reviews. Between the three of us, we have a nice little book group! Should be fun!


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