I was very torn throughout the reading of this book. Once I finished reading I turned to the user reviews on amazon to see what others thought. I found myself agreeing with both the positive and negative reviews which made me sit back and think long and hard about things.
What drew me to the book was not just the story, but the fact that the first editorial review stated that there was a "lack of excess sentimentality" As far as my tastes go, I don't like gratuitous sentimentality so that simple statement was a ringing endorsement. But the book IS sentimental, sometimes overly so, and, as other less favorable reviews have pointed out, there is a self congratulatory undercurrent at times. There were points in my reading of An Invisible Thread that I would have hurled the book across the room in frustration. The fact that I was reading on the kindle app for my android phone was probably the main reason for my restraint. The author was often the hero in her stories and I found myself wondering how much of a role revisionist history played in her retelling of her childhood and even certain scenes with Maurice. Or maybe not. There are already too many spoilers here in these user reviews so I am not going to give anything away, but suffice it to say that when Laura met Michael I was so angry I wasn't sure I would finish the book. Sure, she talked about her struggles with her decisions but I think I didn't always believe her. There we a few other instances of cowardice in the book that made me cringe but then I had to ask myself whether I would be any less cowardly in some of these emotionally difficult situations. Unfortunately, the answer is probably, NO. Edit* I should note, that along with what I am calling cowardice, Laura also showed incredible bravery and/or courage.
What I finally realized was that no matter how frustrated or angry I became at times, something was keeping me glued to this book. I am a truly terrible reader and always have been. Slow, distractible and easily bored. I can't remember the last book I read in one day. This one I read in half a day, losing precious hours of sleep as I dug deeper and deeper into the story. I loved Maurice. His indomitable spirit in the face of the overwhelming odds against him was just a joy to watch unfold. If I am honest with myself I would have to say that I ended up loving Laura as well. I didn't always like her but what she did for Maurice can't be denied no matter what you decide her motives were. Does it lessen the gift when the giver is also the receiver? I don't think so. Laura gave so much to Maurice and got so much back in return. I don't think we need to penalize her for the fact that in the process of saving Maurice, she managed to save herself as well. Isn't this precisely how so much of life works? Laura is multifaceted and as I turned pages I found myself with myriad emotions about her -- most of them quite positive. In fact, I would like to meet her and find out more of the story that didn't fit in these pages.
We humans are such complex creatures. To sum either one of these two characters up as either privileged, underprivileged, self serving, selfish, innocent, lovable, a victim, cowardly, a hero, a superhero, courageous, or sentimental, is to miss the fact that they are all of the above and then some. They are human. Flawed. Did Laura and Maurice always have pure motives for all the decisions they made? Probably not. I don't know anyone whose motives are always pure. Some reviewers question why Laura wrote the book if not for self congratulations. Maybe. Or maybe she knew she had a good story to tell. The fact that it painted her in a good light is just part of the tale. She DID do a good thing. Don't lose sight of that fact just because at times she seems to feel good about herself. She ought to feel good. It was a potentially miserably unhappy story with a warm and fuzzy ending (FYI - I usually hate warm and fuzzy endings). She did something that most people would not have done and she did it with conviction (and more than a bit of blind faith).
I don't know why Laura (and Alex) chose to write the book. I don't know whether she simply had a story to tell or whether she needed more self validation. I don't actually care WHY she wrote it. I care THAT she wrote it. It comes at a time in our lives when apathy is rampant and relationships are more fragile than ever. Was this a brilliant piece of writing? No, not at all really. Again, I don't really care. It was a simple story (albeit with some complex emotions) simply told. I enjoyed the journey and am finding the thoughtful aftermath more rich and colorful than I had expected.
Bottom line: I recommend the book.