Summary and book reviews of Finding Fish by Antwone Quenton Fisher

Finding Fish

By Antwone Quenton Fisher

Finding Fish
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  • Hardcover: Jan 2001,
    368 pages.
    Paperback: Dec 2001,
    352 pages.

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Book Summary

Soon to be a major motion picture starring and directed by Denzel Washington, Finding Fish is the memoir of Antwone Fisher's miraculous journey from abandonment and abuse to liberation, manhood, and extraordinary success--a modern-day Oliver Twist.

Baby Boy Fisher--as he was documented in his child welfare caseworkers' reports--was raised in institutions from the moment of his birth in prison to a single mother. After beginning his life in an orphanage, Antwone was placed in a temporary foster home until, around age two, he was transferred to a second foster home. It was there, over the next thirteen years, that he endured emotional abandonment and physical abuse. Removed from this foster home not long before his sixteenth birthday, Antwone found fleeting refuge in a boys' reform school but was soon thrust into the nightmare of homelessness.

Though convinced he was unwanted and unworthy, Fish, as he came to be known, refused to allow his spirit to be broken. Instead, he became determined to raise himself, to listen to social workers and teachers who intervened on his behalf, and to nurture a romantic heart along with a scathing sense of humor and a wondrous imagination--all of which sustained him with big dreams of a better day. Fatefully, just as Antwone's life on the streets hit rock bottom, he enlisted in the United States Navy, where he remained for the next eleven years. During that time, Fish became a man of the world, raised by the Navy family he created for himself.

Finding Fish shows how, out of this unlikely mix of deprivation and hope, an artist was born--first as the child who painted the feelings his words dared not speak, then as a poet and storyteller who would eventually become one of Hollywood's most well-paid, sought-after screenwriters. But before he ascends those lofty steps, Antwone's story takes us from the Navy to his jobs as a federal correctional officer and then a security guard at Sony Pictures in Hollywood. In its climactic conclusion, the mystery of his identity is finally unraveled as Antwone returns to Cleveland to locate his mother's and father's surviving family members.

A tumultuous and ultimately gratifying tale of self-discovery written in Fisher's gritty yet melodic literary voice, Finding Fish is an unforgettable reading experience.

Chapter One

If I follow the path of memory back to its start, I begin life looking out my upstairs bedroom window. It's here I have my best daydreams and where I can make up stories I like to think about. In my mind's first flash of light, I am here, on the inside looking out of the Picketts' two-story house on a street at the edge of Glenville, the second house from the corner, a block from 105. This is a snowcovered morning when the other kids, already school age, are gone and I'm alone, staring out into the blinding whiteness, thinking it's no fun being left behind, no one to play with.

There is something about being at this window that makes me feel safe. Depends on the smell, though. Young as I am, I have already learned to tell what kind of day it's going to be by the scent of the air in the morning. I can smell rain coming. Not just rain and weather and snow, like now, but other clues. Pancakes on the stove, I know it's going to be a good day...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
An Introduction
Finding Fish relates the gripping story of one person's personal triumph over considerable adversity. Antwone Quenton Fisher's challenges begin before he is born, when his father is killed by a girlfriend in a tragic accident. Born in prison to the single mother who has no means to care for him, Fisher is sent to live with a foster family, where he endures near-constant verbal and physical abuse by those who shelter him. Fisher chronicles his experiences from personal memory and incorporates into his story accounts from the many caseworkers who tracked his progress and decline in the foster care system.

In his mid-teens Fisher leaves his foster family and enters George Junior Republic, a private ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

This stunning autobiography rises above the pack of success fables from survivors of America's inner cities....If a major feature of survival memoirs is their ability to impress readers with the subject's long, steady climb to redemption and excellence, then this engrossing book is a classic.

Kirkus Reviews

A striking and original story of the journey from troubled childhood to self-aware adult, Fisher's account strikes the universal chords so often missing from contemporary memoir.

Author Blurb Denzel Washington
Finding Fish reads like a great work of fiction, moving me alternately to tears and laughter, sorrow and joy, and making me forget at times that the story is in fact astonishingly true. Antwone Fisher's journey is truly a triumph of the spirit, the story of a boy born into circumstances that few of us could withstand, yet who not only survives, but goes on to remarkable success beyond most of our dreams. In a voice that is authentic and raw, Antwone tells of the power of finding one's voice as an artist and a human being. I hope this book is embraced by readers of every color and age.

Reader Reviews
Lavie Reid

Motivator
This is an excellent book. I couldn't put the book down. It brought tears to my eyes as well as laughter to my soul. I couldn't imagine living his story. I believe many young people would benefit from this story.

Anabell

very emotional but with an incredibly strong and wonderful value
I found this book for the purpose of my English classes, but I couldn't only learn new words, also I have learned as we have so much without realizing it. I admire Mr. Denzel Washington as an actor, in fact is seen all your movie, but this has stolen...   Read More

Rebecca Layne

Stunning
This biography reads like a fiction book. The story of a little boy becoming a man is very interesting. I fell upon this book a few weeks ago for a book report for school. I wanted a book that read like "A Child Called It" and I found "Finding Fish",...   Read More

Shade Adeyinka

Emotionally deprived
This is the story of a boy who grew up with an inadequate Love and emotional reserve to withdraw from in facing his life's challenges. When the family that is supposed to aid the growth and development of a child are the same ones taunting the child,...   Read More

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