Andre Blake tells the true story of Chris Gardner, a Milwaukee African-American who escaped from his ex-convict mother and violent stepfather by joining the Navy and then becoming a San Francisco stockbroker, only to wind up as a homeless single father of a 19-month-old son. Read by the street-smart Blake, the story's colorful language and no-holds-barred humor make it captivating. It's a happy-ending morality tale that shows how ironclad determination can break negative cultural cycles and lead to financial and personal rewards. Beleaguered men from all dysfunctional circumstances will be inspired by the well-told story of this authentic American life. Few will forget it once they hear it.
At the age of 20, Chris Gardner arrived in San Francisco to pursue a promising career in medicine. However, he surprised everyone and himself by setting his sights on the competitive world of high finance. Yet no sooner had he landed an entry-level position at a prestigious firm, Gardner found himself caught in a web of incredibly challenging circumstances that left him part of the city's working homeless with his toddler son. Motivated by the promise he made to himself as a fatherless child to never abandon his own children, the two spent almost a year moving from shelters, "HO-tels", and soup-lines.
Never giving in to despair, Gardner makes an astonishing transformation from being part of the city's invisible to being a powerful player in its financial district. Here is the story of a man who breaks his own family's cycle of men abandoning their children, a story that appeals to the very essence of the American Dream.
©2006 Chris Gardner; (P)2006 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
"Gardner is honest and thorough as he solidly depicts growing up black and male in late 20th-century urban America." (Publishers Weekly)
I enjoyed both the movie and the book, but the book gives an in-depth look of the author's childhood, which wasn't covered at all by the movie. It helped me see the context of how Chris got to where he was. How his birth mother had struggled with her relationships with men and the impact on Chris. His was not an easy childhood by many standards, but it was real and it was his and I enjoyed hearing how life growing up was for someone who had it very different from me.
It also, to my surprise, validated that the movie didn't use much literary license in telling the story. While some of the details may not have been accurate, (days he spent in jail, pay during his apprenticeship, etc.) the central core of the story in the movie was surprisingly true.
I recommend both highly. I first saw the movie and then read the book. And if you see the movie on DVD be sure to see the special features about how they made the movie. That was very good.
This book starts out ok with a few rough spots, then flourishes during the time the author is caring for his son on the street. Once the author becomes affluent, it's downhill from there. The book loses its family focus and becomes a self-absorbed narrative. The son evaporates into thin air.
Not a bad book, but disappointing.
I actually enjoyed this book. It kept my attention from the beginning to the end. The narrator does and excellent job with the narration of this book which really means alot when it comes to listening to an audiobook.
audiobook and book are different.
While I was listening to the store within the first page of the book there are very noticeable missing dialogue in the audio vs the book and while the audio book continues on as nothing is a miss; I can't use this as a source of material for my school assignment.
I loved all of it. I will be listening to it again. Some of it was more than I wanted to hear but I really did enjoy the story.
I was happy he finally got to meet his real father and learn he had more family before it was to late.
Very much so and more.
The movie was awesome. But this book adds so much more stuff to the movie. Like when he visits Mandela. Also while still in his youth how he almost faught Michael Spinks over a girl. Also how he dealt with racism. This guy has an extraordinary life. He's an american hero.
The Sisters Review
Good book but it is nothing like the movie. Read it for the self help insporational book it is not because you saw the heart wrenching movie.
lived their lives like Chris did this world would be so much better off. It's not a black/white/red/yellow or pink thing it's a REAL, TRUE LIFE THING.
It's so sad that more people don't have this kind of determination to make their lives better.
Way to go Chris!!!! People need to copy this determination and resolve to make their life better.
Tough to feel sympathy for someone from a broken home doing little more than pursuing their loins desires upon reaching adulthood. The movie covers the last few periods of the book when the author and his young son (fathered by a stripper) try to put their lives back together one last time. I sure hope the movie is better than this was!
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