REVIEW: The Red Thread by Ann Hood

The Red ThreadFormat:  Hardback
Genre:  General Fiction, Adoption Lit
ISBN:  0393070204
Published:  May 2010
Setting:  Providence RI, China

Rating:  4 of 5 stars

Back of the Book Blurb:

“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.

My Thoughts:

This isn’t a great book, but it gets an extra star for what would otherwise be a 3-star read for me because of content.  I really enjoy literature about and/or set in Asian cultures, and this is no exception.  However, due to my own interest in adoption, as well as our undertaking the process of adopting a child ourselves, I was keenly interested in the story of Chinese adoption.  While this will very likely NOT be part of our adoption story, it was extremely interesting to get a sense of how families come to decisions about adoption.

Ms. Hood didn’t really spend a lot of time on the “why” of choosing Chinese adoption, as opposed to other options, and I would have liked to have more focus on that.  However, her story writing is not usually heavy handed, and she stayed in keeping with her traditional style here as well.  Learning after the fact that she adopted a child herself leaves me hoping that she has written that story, which (I am sure) have far richer detail and history.

Finally, I love the Chinese legend that a red thread connects a baby girl with her parents (all of them).  That is such a beautiful way to describe the providence of God, and to show that even in a predominately non-Christian culture, God’s providence still brings the families together as He has planned.

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