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The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood
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The Knitting Circle (2007)

by Ann Hood

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Synopsis: Surviving unfathomable grief and finding the will to live in the world again is the poignant theme of Hood’s latest novel. The protagonist, Mary, has lost her five-year-old daughter, Stella, to meningitis, the sudden onset robbing her of even the opportunity to make peace with her loss. Mary has never enjoyed a close relationship with her mother; in fact, she has suffered for the lack of intimacy without understanding the reason for her mother’s distance. But it is the older woman who suggests Mary take up knitting. Mary resists, until she finds herself standing at the door of a local Rhode Island shop, “Big Alice’s Sit and Knit.” Alice welcomes the acolyte inside, handing her a pair of knitting needles and the simple instructions to begin a first project. As Mary grows close to this group she finds that they all have stories of loss and are working to deal with them.
Review: Lots of angst, but on the shoe a fairly enjoyable book. ( )
  DrLed | Mar 8, 2017 |
Mary and Dylan Baxter were that couple that everyone else aspired to be. He was a busy attorney, she worked for the local newspaper writing reviews and their 5 year old daughter Stella was the light of their lives - until meningitis cruelly took Stella's life in less than 24 hours. Mary and Dylan stumbled through their days not believing that their family had crumbled so completely. Dylan's work kept him busy but Mary, whose work schedule was sporadic to begin with, grew more withdrawn day after day as her anger and bewilderment threatened to overcome her. Mary's mother, Maimie, suggested that Mary learn how to knit hoping that the concentration on the stitches and patterns would occupy Mary's mind for a few hours a day. Mary reluctantly found herself driving to the "Sit and Knit" run by Alice who kindly took Mary under her wing and taught her the basics of knitting. As Mary became more confident in her new hobby she joined the Wednesday night knitting circle where she met the other members, all of whom had their own secret tragedies. Mary slowly learned to make friends with the women and shared in their triumphs and heartache.

Although this was certainly a tragic story it was uplifing too. The power of the human spirit and the love of friends shone through the entire book. I've been a knitter for many years and I guess I never saw it as therapy but it certainly could be. This one has been on my TBR for several years and I'm glad that I've finally read it.
( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
I was surprised by how much I did like this book. It was slow going at first. The narrator made the characters sound annoying at times by the voice she used for them.

The Knitting Circle is about a woman who lost her daughter and how she is coping with it. Mary is not coping with the loss and her mother tells her to take up knitting. This is when she meets all these other women and learns about their lives.

I found myself enjoying their stories. I cried every so often during some of the stories. It was nice listening to the stories and also realizing how they were helping Mary. ( )
  crazy4reading | Oct 10, 2015 |
Every once in a great while, I stumble on a book that I was not only meant to read, but I was also meant to read it right that moment. And our meeting up seems so haphazard and coincidental.

I bemoaned around the start of the new year that I had nothing to read in my to be read pile. And so I spent an hour at the local large book seller browsing the fiction aisles and writing down book names or just author names to go research a little more. I don’t remember researching The Knitting Circle, but somehow I deemed it worthy of approval onto my library hold list. And it’s been sitting in the pile next to my bed for the past 3 weeks.

I read the first chapter more than a week ago, and I promptly put the book back onto the pile and thought, maybe I should just return it and skip this one. It was heartbreakingly clear that the book would rock my world. Instead of returning it, a few days later, after eyeing it distrustfully for a while, I picked it up and read over 200 pages of it that night. And I wept, and I sobbed for the great losses of the women in the Knitting Circle. I finished the second half tonight (and about 1/4 of a box of tissues).

This book is about loss. It’s about deep, abiding, unrelenting, unforgettable loss. The kind of loss that can destroy you; the kind of loss that can suffocate you quietly unless you turn off and learn for a while to become someone who does nothing more than take in air.

If you’ve lost a young child, then run away from this book. I think it would be way too much. But if you’ve lost someone or something else, it might be bearable. This is my first “emotional” read in so many years that I’ve lost count. Emotional it was. But there was something in it that kept ringing out to me as true. After the loss you have to invent something to do, a purpose, a reason for taking up air; this story gives a believable option.

Ordinarily I hate this type of story. It’s why I stay away from books about book groups. There’s usually some very tenuous string between the book group, the books, and the stories of the women therein. And the women are usually whiners, with problems that I just don’t have a lot of sympathy for. Despite this book’s title, I picked it up. I’m glad. It didn’t feel artificial and the knitting stuff flowed; it wasn’t forced; and I buy into the healing that came with it. The women were real to me; their problems far far from the realm of trivial and self-made.

I won’t say that I loved this book because I’m not sure it’s meant to be “loved”. But I will say that I liked it, and more importantly, at least in my life, it was necessary and, Ms. Hood knows and understands loss, and for her very personal sharing, I will be forever grateful. ( )
  mullgirl | Jun 8, 2015 |
I loved this book. It has been sitting on my shelves unread for a couple of years, because I hesitated to start. I was not sure I would lije the book, not sure if I could read a book about loss and grief.

Now I'm going through something similar, this book has offered me a way to escape my thinking and a view on how things get better in a while. Nothing mended, just better in a different way than everything was before. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Jan 18, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ann Hoodprimary authorall editionscalculated
Diamond, ColleenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frulla, FrancescaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Daughter, I have a story to tell you.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393330443, Paperback)

“An intelligent, moving read” (Pages) and “a testament to women’s friendship and to Ann Hood’s talent” (Hilma Wolitzer).

After the sudden loss of her only child, Mary Baxter joins a knitting circle in Providence, Rhode Island, as a way to fill the empty hours and lonely days. The women welcome her, each teaching Mary a new knitting technique and, as they do, revealing their own personal stories of loss, love, and hope. Eventually Mary is able to tell her own story of grief and in so doing reclaims her love for her husband, faces the hard truths about her relationship with her mother, and finds the spark of life again.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:51 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Grieving over the sudden loss of her only child, Mary Baxter joins a knitting circle in Providence, Rhode Island, whose members not only teach her a variety of knitting techniques but also valuable lessons about friendship, love, and redemption.

» see all 4 descriptions

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W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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