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Hope's Boy: A Memoir

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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 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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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 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.

30 review for Hope's Boy: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael Gordon

    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 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.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim Augustine

    "Some families cannot be saved and their children cannot be return. Yet, even then, their love for each other must be worth something." -- Andrew Bridge, Hope's Boy This is a brave memoir about our nation's horribly broken foster care system, that all too often fails our children and families who are in most need and who are most vulnerable. With a steady and elegant voice, Bridge describes a mother who loved him desperately, and in the end, did more than most would ever ask of themselves, all the "Some families cannot be saved and their children cannot be return. Yet, even then, their love for each other must be worth something." -- Andrew Bridge, Hope's Boy This is a brave memoir about our nation's horribly broken foster care system, that all too often fails our children and families who are in most need and who are most vulnerable. With a steady and elegant voice, Bridge describes a mother who loved him desperately, and in the end, did more than most would ever ask of themselves, all the while savaged by mental illness. With tenderness, he describes how love can exist alongside failure and how a mother can ultimately "love a child more than she can care for him." The story is profoundly inspirational, told without a trace of bitterness - and clearly required tremendous courage to write. Bridge went on to Wesleyan University, graduated from Harvard Law School, then devoted his life to the children he remembered -- children with broken lives who still wait for something far better than we give them. An excellent read - an important one, too.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Macaffe

    Hope's Boy is amazing. A friend of mine gave me an early publication copy that had been passed on to her. She loved it. I can only say the same. The memoir describes a young boy and his relationship with his young, single mother. With beautiful and delicately crafted words, Bridge describes his memories of his mother as she struggled to care for him and keep the two of them together, while she was slowly overcome by mental illness. After he was taken from her by a county social worker and Hope's Boy is amazing. A friend of mine gave me an early publication copy that had been passed on to her. She loved it. I can only say the same. The memoir describes a young boy and his relationship with his young, single mother. With beautiful and delicately crafted words, Bridge describes his memories of his mother as she struggled to care for him and keep the two of them together, while she was slowly overcome by mental illness. After he was taken from her by a county social worker and sheriff's deputy, he lived in foster care for the next eleven years. In the most moving and elegant language, he describes the love and devotion that he carried for her throughout his childhood. He leaves with knowledge that even tragically flawed mothers have something to offer. What is most extraordinary is the love and compassion that he clearly still feels for the children that he remembers as a boy. The book is honest and heartwrenching. He opens the reader to a world of lost and forgotten children that too few know enough about. He reminds us how much better can do for them and how much more we owe them. He worked hard, went to college then Harvard Law School. Now he is a children's rights lawyer. An absolute must read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marci

    I was delighted to read an Advanced Reading Copy of Hopes Boy. 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 Bridges case, social workers and the foster care system broke his physical connections to his mother and grandmother. As a social worker, 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 I was delighted to read an Advanced Reading Copy of Hope’s Boy. 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 a social worker, 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This is a must read for anyone interested in foster care, or the child welfare system (or lack thereof) in the U.S. There are many books out there that detail the horrors and egregious acts that children have faced while supposedly being protected in state custody. However, Andrew Bridge does a great job at letting the reader know how horrible a childhood spent in foster care can be even without these egregious acts. This book gives voice to the quiet pain, isolation, and humiliation children This is a must read for anyone interested in foster care, or the child welfare system (or lack thereof) in the U.S. There are many books out there that detail the horrors and egregious acts that children have faced while supposedly being protected in state custody. However, Andrew Bridge does a great job at letting the reader know how horrible a childhood spent in foster care can be even without these egregious acts. This book gives voice to the quiet pain, isolation, and humiliation children often feel in permanent foster placements. It's quite a weighty read, so it helps that there is a little discussion of the work the author has done to try to reform the foster care system (as an adult and successful lawyer). This is absolutely a must read for those interested in reforming this system, and also for those who work with kids in the child welfare system. You may learn a lot about what those kids feel, but never had the courage to tell anyone.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bill bitopoulos

    not to be corny but this book was so damn moving. i have always had a soft spot for kids in foster care but this one exposes the life they lead better than anything i have seen. this guy is what i call a hero.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kate Kalstein

    This is an incredible book. Andrew is a former foster youth who tells the story of his childhood through this amazing book - sad yet inspiring, definitely recommended for anyone who loves or works with kids.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    About a boy in the foster care system that beats the odds and becomes a lawyer. Sad and moving

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    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 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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    B Augustine

    As a mother and a retired teacher, "Hope's Boy" was an emotional experience for me. It reminded me that children choose what is important to them. Mr. Bridge's memoir convinced me that a child brings with them his/her own needs that a bed in a stranger's house leave unsatisfied. I think that anyone who lives with, or works with, children should read this well-written book. It is disturbing that one little boy had this childhood. More disturbing is the fact that there are many children who have As a mother and a retired teacher, "Hope's Boy" was an emotional experience for me. It reminded me that children choose what is important to them. Mr. Bridge's memoir convinced me that a child brings with them his/her own needs that a bed in a stranger's house leave unsatisfied. I think that anyone who lives with, or works with, children should read this well-written book. It is disturbing that one little boy had this childhood. More disturbing is the fact that there are many children who have lived this life, are living this life, or will live this life if the foster system isn't re-evaluated.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Hendo

    Simply written, but a touching memoir. The author spent ten years in the Los Angeles county foster system, and this memoir chronicles his experience. Very clean--totally appropriate for the kids. I'm probably going to use it with my ADVZ next year.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I really liked this book. I read the review in People and when I had some extra cash to spend on books I bought it. It is about a boy that spends most of his life in foster care, but ends up making it into Harvard Law and coming out on top, regardless of his childhood. I thought the writing was excellent, his lessons profound, and the truth about foster care disturbing. It is a great book for any mother to read. It makes you so thankful for your kids and the ability to care for them on your own. I really liked this book. I read the review in People and when I had some extra cash to spend on books I bought it. It is about a boy that spends most of his life in foster care, but ends up making it into Harvard Law and coming out on top, regardless of his childhood. I thought the writing was excellent, his lessons profound, and the truth about foster care disturbing. It is a great book for any mother to read. It makes you so thankful for your kids and the ability to care for them on your own. I just snuggled my little boy when I was reading this. It is a great read!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Su

    This was a heartbreaking story of a boy (the author) who was placed in foster care at the age of 7 and remained there until he was emancipated at the adult age of 18. His mother was not mentally competent to take care of him, but the system never explained to him where she was or why she had "abandoned" him. He thought of her constantly and you can almost feel his aching. He now works as a Harvard graduated lawyer to better the system that almost ruined him.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

    The foster care/social system in LA county (at least it was 20 years ago) sounds like a piece of shit operation. I don't understand how Andrew Bridge is who he is today, but I was rooting for him all the way through the book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    Gripping non-fiction book about a boy with a highly disfunctional mother who ends up in the foster care system. He succeeds despite the odds to become a Harvard Grad and Fulbright scholar - inspirational.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mom rodriguez

    This man went through so much while in foster care but is now a child advocate and a lawyer. It only proves that where there's a will there's a way.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lala

    A memoir of a boy raised in foster care. Excellent story, but too descriptive.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Miller

    I thought this was a beautifully written, powerful book. It was an indictment of the foster care system, of course. I was touched by his assertion that love should be honored and preserved, even when the people who are loving us are also damaging us. And I wondered at this boy's survival. How did he manage to persevere, when so many can not? Was it because of the stability and love of his grandma in those early years? Knowing he was wanted, even if those that wanted him were not able to care for I thought this was a beautifully written, powerful book. It was an indictment of the foster care system, of course. I was touched by his assertion that love should be honored and preserved, even when the people who are loving us are also damaging us. And I wondered at this boy's survival. How did he manage to persevere, when so many can not? Was it because of the stability and love of his grandma in those early years? Knowing he was wanted, even if those that wanted him were not able to care for him? What lessons are there in this story for working with all children? This book will definitely stay with me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    MusicalMarian

    This was an interesting true story of a boy who grew up as a foster child in CA. I was happy with the way it ended, and it was nice to hear that Andrew could be as insightful about his past as he is considering the lack of family support he had. It's amazing that he is as successful and happy as he is, and I'm glad he is trying to help others who are living as he once did.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Liza

    Wow, this book really opened my eyes to the foster care system. This memoir takes you through Andy's experience and is very open and honest. In the last few years I've been reading books about bad things that occur in other countries (Iran, Afghanistan) but this opened my eyes to bad things happening here in the US. Andy was a great author.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    Good book about one persons experience growing up in foster care. I was intrigued how he managed to live in one foster home for over 10 years, but the family either didn't really care for him, or had a really hard time showing it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cristine Martinez

    Great book!!! Again . . . I love reading about other peoples struggles and how they overcome them!! Very good!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Elana

    Heartbreaking, beautiful, and honest. The story of a young man who grew-up in tragedy, then returned to help the children he left behind. You'll never forget this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    The son of a mentally ill woman who was unable to care for him, Andrew Bridge was raised in foster care, went on to Wesleyan and Harvard Law School and was the CEO of the Alliance for Children's Rights. What illustrated the shortcomings of the foster care system for me was not his descriptions of the horrible places that he had to live or the terrible people he had to live with but how damaged he seems, despite his "success".

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This book is a memoir by Andrew Bridge, a boy who grew up in foster care in California and went on to Harvard Law School. This is amazing because according to the book the majority of kids in foster care don't graduate high school and less then 10% finish college. It is a sad story about a foster care system that still needs to be reformed and an interesting look into the world of a child in foster care. It has made me more sensitive to the struggle of these children.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amy Wyckoff

    This is a book about a boy put into the New York foster care system when he was 7. He was labeled as slow in grade school then met a teacher that took the time to care and finally was put in accelrated classes. He is now a Lawyer with a law degree from harvard. This is a wonderful book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    An honest story about a brave boy and a tragic mother that I won't ever forget.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jason H.

    The most courageous book that I have ever read. I loved it

  29. 4 out of 5

    Suebee

    I loved this book. A beautifully written story of a lost childhood and the hope that held him through it. I recommend it for everyone! You won't forget it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    This book is about a young boy raised in an unloving foster care environment. His mother is hopelessly unable to provide for him due to her mental issues. Even with all the upheaval in his life he never forgots his mother.

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