Finding Fisher

Best-selling author visits MU bookstore
Thursday, September 11, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:33 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Screenwriter and best-selling author Antwone Fisher hasn’t even had a chance to sit down and read his own autobiography.

Touring, promotion and family duties have kept him from truly reading his book beyond when he wrote it, Fisher said. Judging by the line wrapped around MU’s bookstore Wednesday, he might have been the only one.

Fisher greeted more than 100 people who attended his book signing, sponsored by the Delta Gamma Foundation Lectureship in Values and Ethics Committee and MU.

Fisher’s memoir, "Finding Fish," recounts his negative experiences as a child in Ohio’s foster care system. The book then chronicles his naval career and quest to find his real family after several years of physical and psychological abuse. The film adaptation of the book, "Antwone Fisher," directed by and starring Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington, grossed more than $21 million at the box office earlier this year.

Meeting the man behind the book

Attendees, some holding more than one copy of Fisher’s memoir, patiently waited for a chance to meet him and have their books autographed.

Some people said they were getting copies signed for family members. MU freshman Justin Light, 18, said he was getting the book signed for his grandmother because she liked the story.

“I’ve seen the movie and read the book,” said MU freshman Candace Ruffin, 21. “I admit, I cried more than one time during the movie.”

Ruffin’s friends, agreeing with her, quickly chimed in, “Oh yeah.”

Lorena Velasco, 43, brought her daughter Mary Ann, 17, to meet Fisher, whom she described as a modern-day Superman.

“I wish I had an hour to talk to him — and that would be a minimum,” Velasco said.

Velasco, who came to the United States from El Salvador three years ago, said the condition of the foster care system in the United States surprised her more than anything else about the country when she moved here. Fisher’s firsthand account was how she learned about the system’s problems.

“I wondered how these people got to be foster parents,” she said.

Jeffrey Johnson, a 33-year-old Americorps VISTA volunteer, said he might go and buy the movie after learning of Fisher’s story.

Sending out a message

Fisher said he hopes his message brings attention to conditions facing foster children and adopted children of all backgrounds.

“A lot of people don’t think of foster kids or adopted kids very much,” Fisher said.

Fisher said many people don’t realize many American children need good homes. He said people here overlook children in their own communities when choosing to adopt from other countries.

“I think when people adopt overseas, they feel more charitable. They feel like what they’ve done is bigger than if they had done it here,” he said.

Fisher said he has considered starting a foundation, but first he’ll deal with upcoming projects in both film and television.

After all that, he says, he might get a chance to read his own book.

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