How one book can be depressing and inspirational at the same time, I don’t know, but Ann Hood’s semi-autobiographical tale definately fit into those two categories.
The pace of the book was very even, the transitions from scene to scene, character to character, story to story was very smooth and fluid. Its an incredibly quick read. I started it on my lunch hour yesterday, and stayed up until midnight to finish it.
The quick plot summary is that mother Mary Baxter lost her 5 year old daughter, Stella, to meningitis. At her mother’s urging, Mary takes up knitting and joins a Wednesday night knitting group with 5 other women. As the story progresses, these women go from anonymous knitters, to real people with real tragedies and struggles in their lives. Mary befriends these women, who know nothing about her recent loss and slowly is able to learn how to cope with the unexpected and much too early death of her daughter.
I started this book yesterday on my lunch break and I was already teary eyed from the first few pages. The story hit pretty close to home for me. I lost my father to a heart attack when I was 20. A few weeks before, my mom had started teaching me how to knit. My boyfriend, for reasons we’ve both forgotten at this point, asked me to knit him a scarf. Although knitting didn’t provide the same meditative escape described in the book, it did provide a much needed distraction to everyone who came to visit. Throughout that first month, I would sit quietly and knit as relatives and friends came to visit. Everyone had their hands on the scarf, and even knit a few rows themselves, both the men and women. Then they would share stories of sweaters and socks their mother’s knit for them, or how they tried to knit, but failed. I stopped knitting for a while after finishing that scarf, took up crochet a few months later. Then 2 years ago, I started knitting again, and have not stopped since.
Anyway, its a good book. But make sure you have something happy to read afterwards. I am moving on to David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day. I can always count on him for a good laugh. =)