Sunday, July 25, 2010

95 - The Red Thread; Ann Hood


















I just finished listening to, The Red Thread by Ann Hood and was quite pleased. The narrator was Hilary Huber, and she did an excellent job.  In case you are not familiar with this novel, it is a story about five couples from the Providence, Rhode Island area, who are brought together by their desire to adopt a Chinese baby with the assistance of the Red Thread Adoption Agency, founded by Maya Lange. Maya too has her own story, having lost a baby that she blames herself for, it also ended her marriage.

The "Red Thread" is a Chinese belief that children are tied to all the people that will play a part in their lives by an invisible "red thread". Throughout the novel the reader learns more and more about the American couples and their circumstances. In fact the couples, through this process begin to bond, socialize, and by the end of the novel, these couples even journey to China together to pick up their baby girls who are all about (9) months old. I thought it was interesting that the babies are selected for them, not by them.

The stories of the Chinese women/parents of the babies given up for adoption are woven into these stories as well. Their stories are touching and sad at times.  In China female babies are not valued, especially since Chinese sons have a duty to care for aged parents, so by that standard, baby girls are a disadvantage.  Some women are pressured to give their baby girls up for adoption so they can try again for a son.  Sadly, each year approximately 150,000 baby girls are given up for adoption with the (1) child only policy enforced in China.

Although the Red Thread is a work of fiction, it had a ring of truth to it and the international adoption process .  The author, Ann Hood, lost her own little girl when she was about five years of age, and she had adopted a baby girl from China with the help of Maya's Adoption Agency.  Although some of the couples seemed to have issues that made me wonder if they were good candidates for adoption,, in the end I thought that this was a wonderful story. This story should leave you with a feeling of hope and happiness for both child and parent.

RECOMMENDED - 4.5/5 stars
Library Audio Book

29 comments:

  1. Female infanticide is so high in China and India because of the value put on sons and abandonment of female babies was very common. It is not so prevalent now. This book sounds sad though.

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  2. I look forward to reading this one. We have two nieces that started out their lives in China before they became part of our family. It is a touching situation. Both our girls are teenagers now and two more American teens you could not find! LOL

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  3. This could be classified as "a book I would overlook due to the cover" I'm so glad that I read your review because I think I would really enjoy the story AND the message.

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  4. This sounds fantastic! I have several friends who've adopted girls from China, so I know the process isn't easy.

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  5. Great review. This one sounds really worth checking out. I love the beauty of the metaphor of The Red Thread. Thanks.

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  6. This sounds exactly like my kind of book. I'm going to see if my library has a copy!

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  7. I'm not sure why I'm more drawn to Japanese literature than Chinese, especially having loved Amy Tan and Lisa See's works. But, this one sounds so wonderful especially as I'm a girl who understands adoption, being a daughter, and threads that tie us to one another. Great review, Diane!

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  8. Although fiction, this books sounds like it offers quite a bit of insight into the whole international adoption process. I'm always sad when I read about the policy in China that devalues little girls so much and wonder how it will impact their society after another 100 years.

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  9. I have had this book on my wishlist forever! So glad it's worth it :)

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  10. This story sounds very good and I am glad to hear it is good on audio - I am always looking for new audio titles!

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  11. I LOVED this book! I read it earlier this year and fell in love with it, especially with the Chinese parents' stories. It's one of my favorites of the year. So glad you liked it, too!

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  12. thanks goodness people read non-fiction and talk about it in such a way that makes me want to read it. honestly, I'm pathetic about being current on non-fiction. Anyway, this sounds good and I'm very curious, and I'm also wondering - how did you find this book in the first place?

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  13. Hi Westcobich....actually this book is fiction, not non-fiction, but it is based in part on a true story.

    Ann Hood is a favorite author. Having read her other books, I knew this one was coming out and had read a few reviews as well.

    Mystica...the book was a bit sad in part (the stories of the babies birth mothers mostly), but it is not all sad.

    Kay...that is so sweet to hear, about the Americanized teenage girls from China.

    Molly, the audio book cover is different from the hardcover. I actually liked both covers.

    Kathy...It seems nowadays everyone knows someone with a baby from China....good and bad, IMO.

    Bellezza...Me, too for some reason I prefer Japanese literature.

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  14. I haven't heard of this book or about what the "red thread" meant. It sounds like a good read.

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  15. I've heard quite a bit of buzz about this book, but I had thought that it was nonfiction. Although, as you say, the story is a common one and could very well be true. It is so sad how baby girls are practically "thrown out" by some families. And even though these mothers give their girls up for adoption, I'm sure it's a pain that they carry with them always.

    Great review! Thanks for sharing!

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  16. It sounds like she knows what she is writing about. And it is so sad how little girl babies are valued in China.

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  17. I have this book on my "to be read" list.. I can't wait to read it! Great review!

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  18. I read a nonfiction book last year that dealt with this subject to a certain extent. I'm really interested in reading this one now based on your review so thanks for sharing. And I'm not sure if it is new but I like the new look of your blog!

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  19. This sounds like a very compelling read!! My iTouch should show up soon and I'm hoping to download an audio book here and there..this one will be on my list of ones to consider.

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  20. This book is on my wish list.

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  21. I watched a documentary on the "one child rule" in 2008, just before China hosted the Summer Olympics. It's so sad that in seeking a solution to the population problem they created an even bigger gender conundrum.

    Good to hear you enjoyed the audio version of The Red Thread. I'll look for this one for my MIL, thanks!

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  22. I've never understood the appeal of audiobooks but as I received this very'book' as a gift I think I'll give it a try and see if my opinion changes.

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  23. This sounds like a really excellent read. I know about the problems with female children in China, but haven't ever really read a book like this before. I am so glad you liked it, and I will be adding it to my list. Great review!!

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  24. Oh I hadn't heard of this but it sounds really good. Great review, Diane. Adding it to my list!

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  25. This sounds fascinating; I'll have to put it on my list.

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  26. I am so drawn to adoption stories and can't wait to read this one!

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  27. Thanks to the One Child Policy, the situation for women in China is dreadful. Especially for newborn baby girls. It is an issue that I feel was never discussed enough in my classes. I am definitely going to pick this one up in the future because it sounds like a really great story that addresses issues that people don't always want to see or talk about.

    Jennifer @ www.justicejennifer.com

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  28. Ooh, this sounds like it would be a great listen! I'll definitely have to see if my library system has it available. Thanks for the excellent review. ~karen

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  29. I think this book would appeal very much to me. I am Chinese although I have never step foot into China. I'll be on the lookout for it. Thanks for the review!

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