Living up to the promise of his title, Hope’s Boy, Andrew Bridge offers a story that makes you cry, makes your heart ache and finishes with a tremendous amount of solace.

An astonishing tale of triumph over adversity, Bridge’s memoir, told in a straightforward and unsentimental voice, manages to be moving without being preachy. Still, the author’s childhood in foster care will chill you to the bone.

Born to a young, poor, single mother with very few resources, Bridge’s situation descends from bad to worse as he watches his only parent, Hope, disappear in front of his eyes. Battling schizophrenia, Hope desperately tries to hang onto her son but her illness finally gets the best of her.

Essentially on his own at age seven, Bridge must navigate Los Angeles’ own terrifying MacLaren Hall and then an ambivalent foster family, all the while attempting to find a way to get ahead in the world.

What makes Hope’s Boy such a powerful tale is the author’s incredible journey through this morass and the life of a children’s advocate. Against the odds, he puts himself through Harvard Law School and ends up fighting for neglected kids without a voice.

Grade: A

Hope’s Boy is currently available.