Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Red Thread by Ann Hood

Ann Hood has suffered the loss of a child and felt the happiness of adopting a child.  Those personal experiences combine in her novel, The Red Thread.

From Booklist (via amazon)
Hood’s latest engaging novel is a timely exploration of the adoption process, specifically the adoption of Chinese girls by five couples in Providence, Rhode Island, brought together by Maya and her Red Thread Adoption Agency. One by one, Hood introduces each couple: there’s a compulsive investment banker and her consultant husband; a social do-gooder and her immature husband who still pines for an ex-girlfriend; Maya’s friend Emily, who longs for her own daughter, tired of vying with her stepdaughter for her husband’s affection; an ex-baseball player who fears losing his wife’s love and attention to the new adoptee; and a mismatched couple with their own mentally challenged daughter whom the wife struggles to love. Maya is an upbeat ringleader who believes every child is connected by a red thread to those fated to play a part in his or her destiny. Hood intersperses the stories of these diverse couples with the sad stories of five Chinese babies slated for adoption, resulting in part soap opera, part enlightening look at contemporary adoptions, and an altogether entertaining read.

On the red thread
There exists a silken red thread of destiny.  It is said that this magical cord may tangle or stretch but never break.  When a child is born, that invisible red thread connects the child's soul to all the people--past, present, and future--who will play a part in that child's life.  Over time, that thread shortens and tightens, bringing closer and closer those people who are fated to be together.

On learning to knit
Susannah's grandmother had taught her to knit when she was ten years old.  Susannah had sat on her lap, facing out, and her grandmother had placed the needles in her hands, wrapped her arms around her, and knit.  Their hands, making the motion together, were like being on a sailboat, rhythmically rocking.

I wanted to love this book, but instead, I just liked it.  While each family situation was unique, I never really got them straight in my mind and had to keep turning back to refresh myself on which family was which.  When I was on page 235 of 302, I started thinking how will the details of these families come together, and then they did--bing, bam, boom, done, the end.

In her Acknowledgments, Ms. Hood references the adoption of her daughter through China Adoption with Love in Brookline, MA.  Click here to read more about this organization.

Every year, the Concord Museum decorates and displays Christmas trees with bookish themes throughout the museum.  Several years ago, I Love You Like Babycakes was one of the featured books.  It is a wonderfully told and illustrated book about finding the child of your heart.

Rating:  3/5 (Fiction Scale)
Dedication:  For Annabelle
First line:  In her sleep, Maya dreamed of falling.


Les said...

This doesn't appeal to me, but I'm still considering two of her other books (The Knitting Circle and Comfort). Have you read either of those?

Marcia said...

Haven't read either of these books, Les. I might look for them at the library but I won't go out of my way to find them.