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Book Club Book-The Red Thread By Ann Hood

The Red Thread

By Ann Hood

PBR Book Review:

In this book Ann Hood treats the reader to a beautiful concept when she writes –“there exits a silken red thread of destiny and when a child is born this 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”. The book’s title refers to this exquisite inspirational Chinese proverb and follows Maya, who through The Red Thread Adoption Agency places abandoned Chinese girl babies with American parents. This is an engaging, at times emotional story told in alternating voices of the prospective parents and interspersed with the tales of how these babies came to be abandoned in China. Central to the book is also a secret buried deep within Maya and her journey of becoming whole again. The story is more moving with the knowledge that Ann Hood lost her daughter at a very young age and adopted a baby from China herself. There is a large cast of characters in this book, but Hood manages to find a place in your heart for each of them. In short a compelling story of sadness mingled with joy and happiness for those who enjoy light, engaging stories.

Book Club Talking Points:

This story shows the emotional consequences of adopting a child. It portrays the pain of giving up a child, the joy of adopting a baby and the emotional roller coaster of adoptive parents. I love books where characters bond over a common cause; and this is just such a book as the prospective parents share the ups and downs of adopting as well as the reasons for adopting. On a deeper level the book also examines the loss of a child and the pain and guilt of raising a child with special needs.

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*Author Website:

*Other Books by Same Author: “Comfort: A Journey Through Grief”, “The Knitting Circle”, “An Ornithologists Guide To Life”, “Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine”, “Do Not Go Gentle”.

*Discussion Questions

1. Describe how each of the characters reacts to the idea of adoption. How are they similar? What makes them different?

2. How does Maya deal with the loss of her daughter? How does her reaction affect her relationships with and opinions of others?

3. How does Maya’s confession to Jack change her interactions with the people around her, particularly her coworkers?

4. Flowers are a prominent motif throughout The Red Thread. Discuss the significance of this.

5. Many of the characters have habits that help them cope through tough situations. How do these habits help or hinder them?

6. Compare and contrast the American couples to their Chinese counterparts.

7. A red thread is said to connect mother to child. Do you think there is also a connection between the expectant mothers at the Red Thread Adoption Agency?

8. What do you think about Brooke’s decision? How do you think this decision will affect her in the future? Does it change the way you view the rest of the characters?

9. Compare and contrast the babies’ Chinese names and their new American ones. How do the names fulfill the hopes and dreams of the mothers, both Chinese and American?

10. How do you think the new parents will deal with the ethnic differences between themselves and their children? What types of things should they do to integrate themselves with their child’s Chinese heritage?

11. What do you think will happen to each of the couples after the novel ends?

Book Summary
W. W. Norton & Company - May 2010 - 304 pages
In China there is a belief that people who are destined to be together are connected by an invisible red thread. Who is at the end of your red thread?

After losing her infant daughter in a freak accident, Maya Lange opens The Red Thread, an adoption agency that specializes in placing baby girls from China with American families. Maya finds some comfort in her work, until a group of six couples share their personal stories of their desire for a child. Their painful and courageous journey toward adoption forces her to confront the lost daughter of her past. Brilliantly braiding together the stories of Chinese birth mothers who give up their daughters, Ann Hood writes a moving and beautifully told novel of fate and the red thread that binds these characters' lives. Heartrending and wise, The Red Thread is a stirring portrait of unforgettable love and yearning for a baby.
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