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Review: The Knitting Circle

August 25, 2011

Mary is struggling after the death of her young daughter.  She thinks no one can understand her pain, so she’s barely functioning at work and she and her husband, Dylan, are drifting apart.  Mary and her mother are not on the best of terms but Mary decides to take up knitting at her mother’s urging and joins the knitting circle at a local yarn shop.

Mary comes to the knitting circle half-heartedly but the other members greet her warmly and accept her immediately.   Mary remains a little distant at first but, as she learns each member’s story, she discovers they all have pain of their own.  The members of the knitting circle help Mary learn to cope and live again.

The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood is a very emotional story of grief, friendship, and love.  Thankfully, I’ve never experienced the type of pain Mary goes through, but I can imagine how devastating it must be.  Her emotions are raw and felt real, and had me crying more than once.

Each of the other members of the knitting circle teaches Mary a new stitch or pattern and, as they do, she learns their stories and comes to realize that there are many wounded people surviving each day the best they can.

I loved the friendship the women in the story shared.  They were all struggling with grief or tragedy and together they were learning how to cope.  As sad as their stories were, I found the way they shared their burdens uplifting.  I’m not a knitter, but actually thought of taking it up as I listened to this story.

I listened to the audio version of The Knitting Circle, which is read by Hillary Huber and she does a fabulous job.  She brings the characters to life and gives each one their own voice – the voices are all so different, I checked the CD case at one point to see if it was read by an ensemble.  It was a wonderful way to experience this heartfelt book!

Review copy provided by Blackstone Audio. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
43 Comments leave one →
  1. August 25, 2011 6:01 am

    This is a terrific review, Kathy. Initially I thought the subject matter would be too much of a downer for me, but your review has convinced me otherwise!

  2. August 25, 2011 6:21 am

    Nice review. I’ve thought about getting this book as a gift for Anna, since she loves knitting, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  3. kaye permalink
    August 25, 2011 7:10 am

    This sounds terrific! Sort of like Beth Pattilo’s Sweetgum knitters series.

  4. August 25, 2011 7:13 am

    I’ve had this on my shelf for a long time – it sounds like an emotional but very good book. I’ll have to move it higher on my tbr list.
    I learned to knit when I was in elem. school and then didn’t do it at all until a few years ago. A friend and I took a refresher class (aka intro to knitting class) at our local yarn shop and I’ve had a project going ever since. I find it very relaxing to knit and listen to an audiobook.

  5. August 25, 2011 7:35 am

    I read this when it first came out and before I started blogging. I really liked it, but it did make me cry.

  6. August 25, 2011 7:42 am

    I read this one a few years ago and I remember it being a very touching story. I can vouch for the therapeutic effects of knitting — so relaxing!

  7. August 25, 2011 7:43 am

    I get very confused by all these Knitting books, they all sound the same to me. But I do remember reading this and liking it too

  8. hillary permalink
    August 25, 2011 8:19 am

    thanks for the review kathy. i wept a little while narrating this one…

  9. August 25, 2011 8:35 am

    There seem to be a lot of books that meld crafts with a semi-dramatic, or dramatic story, but something about this one sounds different. A book that can make me cry is special indeed, and one that I relish, because it happens so rarely. I am glad that this book touched you so deeply, and that you enjoyed it. I will have to see if I can get my hands on a copy soon. Fantastic review, by the way!

  10. August 25, 2011 9:04 am

    This sounds great. I’ve been needing to try some audio.

  11. August 25, 2011 9:35 am

    I’m so glad you reviewed this! I also have the audio version in my TBR pile, and was wondering how it was!

  12. August 25, 2011 9:55 am

    This sounds like a sweet story about friendship, love and loss. Once in a while I seek these types of books out. I bet it’s great on audio.

  13. August 25, 2011 10:05 am

    I’m a so-so knitter; it’s something I do while the TV is blaring away (Dave is very hard of hearing). This story sounds wonderful. Great review.

  14. August 25, 2011 10:07 am

    I’m not really a homemade handicraft-type, but I do read books like this from time to time. Thanks for the review.

  15. August 25, 2011 10:47 am

    I have just posted a review of books on death and grieving. This book would be a great addition to the list. Here are the books I wrote about: Books of Love and Loss

  16. August 25, 2011 10:56 am

    I remember reading this a couple years ago and absolutely loving the characters, the friendships that develop, and the way their stories are told. I think I remember reading somewhere that the author lost her own daughter and writing the book was one way she dealt with her grief. Powerful story!

  17. August 25, 2011 11:45 am

    Sounds like a sad but powerful read.

  18. August 25, 2011 12:14 pm

    I just can’t do books filled with grief. It sounds too emotional for me.

  19. August 25, 2011 12:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing this great review, I’ll have to remember to read this one.

  20. August 25, 2011 12:28 pm

    This sounds like a fabulous story Kathy! If I listened to it I would probably be sobbing in my car and people would really think I’m nuts! lol
    I’m starting a knitting club next month and I can’t wait for the extra time of fellowship that I am going to have with these ladies!

  21. August 25, 2011 12:53 pm

    I don’t know how anyone could bear having to deal with something like that. The book sounds like one I’d love because I love reading about the relationships between women. It’s so important to have others who will lift you up and carry you through the dark times. I’m not a knitter either, but my mom and all my sisters are. My brother even tried it once just to see what all the hoopla was about! Needless to say, he didn’t like it.

  22. August 25, 2011 1:30 pm

    I’m not a knitter but the premise just verifies my theory that you cannot overestimate the power of a girlfriend (or girlfriends). Powerful stuff. I probably would have passed this one by, writing it off as a syrupy sweet read. Nice review!

  23. August 25, 2011 1:47 pm

    This book sounds very emotional but very good.

  24. August 25, 2011 2:08 pm

    Knitting is not something I’m into, but everyone needs a good circle of friends, so that aspect of the story sounds easier to relate to.

  25. August 25, 2011 2:23 pm

    I do think this would be a yes for me 🙂 It made me think of the lace makers and I do liek groups of women coming together

  26. August 25, 2011 3:52 pm

    This sounds like such a beautiful book. I have a really hard time with books about children dying, but this sounds somewhat hopeful. Thanks for your review!

  27. August 25, 2011 4:33 pm

    Lovely review…I loved this book when I read it…I love Ann Hood’s books…not to mention that they take place in Maine.

  28. August 25, 2011 4:41 pm

    I know I have turned to knitting to help me and I, thankfully have not experienced such a great loss. The book sounds lovely.

  29. August 25, 2011 5:27 pm

    this sounds like a sweet book. Lately, I don’t know if it’s my age or what, I’ve found myself really drawn to female-friendship novels. Glad you enjoyed this.

  30. August 25, 2011 5:44 pm

    My oldest daughter and I read this book several years ago. We both loved all the characters in the story. The writing is so personal probably because the author also experienced the loss of a daughter. My daughter has gone on to read some of the author’s other books and has enjoyed them as well. We are both knitters so that was our first attraction to the story.

  31. August 25, 2011 6:38 pm

    This is definitely the type of book that I would read. Thanks so much for putting this on my radar; definitely one that I can see myself crying to.

  32. August 25, 2011 8:26 pm

    Loved your review. This book sounds so interesting. I saw it on a book site but wasn’t familiar with the author and did not know anyone who read it. So happy I stopped here today!

    http://www.alaskanbookcafe.com

  33. August 26, 2011 12:27 am

    This sounds very touching, Kathy. (I wish I could keep up with all your reading/listening!)

  34. August 26, 2011 1:25 am

    Every time I read one of these ‘sewing’ books I think I need to start. It never happens, but I still love the friendships.

  35. August 26, 2011 10:38 am

    I’m a knitter but have never read a knitting novel. Your review has convinced me to do so.
    Knitting does help ease emotions and pain. It is very therapeutic, whether you’re angry with your boss or experiencing great loss. I highly recommend it.
    Fab review as always 🙂

  36. August 26, 2011 3:40 pm

    There seems to be many knitting books around lately, so it sounds like now I have to add another to my reading list! (This knitter, when not knitting, loves to read about it!)

  37. August 26, 2011 6:24 pm

    I have always wanted to read this one. On audio though? Now you have me motivated!

  38. August 26, 2011 7:47 pm

    A narrator that can pull off an “ensemble” feeling is a winner! I haven’t yet read anything by Ann Hood, but I think she has an impressive back list.

  39. August 26, 2011 9:26 pm

    I love how you always make me think about books outside of my comfort zone – I took the plunge and bought Room. This review touches a really tough subject especially death of a child – a parent’s worst nightmare but from the sounds of it there is so much more going on with the friendship created by these groups of women. Another excellent piece 🙂

  40. August 27, 2011 8:34 pm

    I read this many years ago and really enjoyed it. The writing was fantastic. i could really feel Mary’s pain, maybe because the author had felt that way herself and it really came through in her writing.

  41. August 27, 2011 10:08 pm

    It reminds me of a book I just finished, Friendship Bread. Only in that case it was bread, not knitting, that brought people together and helping them cope.

  42. August 29, 2011 8:16 am

    It’s about a knitting circle .. that alone would be enough to make me want to pick it up. The additional story seems sad, but, in the end, uplifting. This one is going on my list.

  43. August 29, 2011 8:58 pm

    I can’t even imagine what she was experiencing … it is my worst nightmare.

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