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.
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...
If you liked Finding Fish, try these:
Dave Pelzer describes how he triumphed over years of physical and emotional abuse from his parents to become a self-accepting and confident adult (part 3 of trilogy).
An incandescent memoir of an ordinary girl growing up at the turn of the 1970s and the truly extraordinary circumstances of a childhood lost. Wrenching and unforgettable, Blackbird will carry your heart away.
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