The Knitting Circle is a semi-autobiographical novel by Ann Hood. She starts the book with a prologue that applies both to her own life and to a character in the book. She says...
Daughter, I have a story to tell you. I have wanted to tell it to you for a very long time. But unlike Babar or Eloise or any of the other stories you loved to hear, this one is not funny. This one is not clever. It is simply true. It is my story, yet I do not have the words to tell it. Instead, I pick up my needles and I knit. Each letter is a stitch. A row spells out "I love you." I knit "I love you" into everything I make. Like a prayer, or a wish, I send it out to you, hoping you can hear me. Hoping, daughter, that the story I am knitting reaches you somehow. Hoping, that my love reaches you somehow.I'm not going to lie to you. This isn't a fun book. But, it is an amazing book. You will cry and feel the characters' anguish. In the end, you will also come out with a deeper understanding of grief and the way it affects us. Ms. Hood handles the subject of loss and the surprising things that pull you through it with a frankness and sensitivity that comes from having made the journey herself. For some of you, Cara, my dear friend Chris, and many others, this book may hit almost too close to home, to close to the pain you felt and lived through. Despite the pain and raw grief Ms. Hood depicts, the unexpected friendships that sustain the protagonist and ultimately bring her to the point of living again, loving again, and having the strength to help others on their own journey back to life keeps this book from being depressing or dark.
Hilma Wolitzer (The Doctor's Daughter) says,
"The Knitting Circle is that rare thing: a wrenching story about loss that also manages to be consoling. It's a testament to women's friend ship and to ann Hood's talent."And, Caroline Leavitt (Girls in Trouble and Coming Back to Me) says,
"The Knitting Circle kept me up all night reading. It is brilliant and brave and extraordinary. It does what the very best novels do - it takes a tragedy and finds the heart of the pain and turns it into shimmering art."Do yourself a favor and give this fabulous book a chance.