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The Knitting Circle

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  6,791 ratings  ·  1,059 reviews
In the spirit of How to Make an American Quilt and The Joy Luck Club, a novel about friendship and redemption.

After the sudden loss of her only child, Stella, Mary Baxter joins a knitting circle in Providence, Rhode Island, as a way to fill the empty hours and lonely days, not knowing that it will change her life. Alice, Scarlet, Lulu, Beth, Harriet, and Ellen welcome Mary
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Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 22nd 2007 by W. W. Norton (first published January 1st 2006)
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The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate JacobsThe Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie MacomberA Good Yarn by Debbie MacomberThe Knitting Circle by Ann HoodKnit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton
Good Yarns: Knitting Fiction
4th out of 123 books — 212 voters
The Help by Kathryn StockettThe Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk KiddFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie FlaggDivine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca WellsWhere the Heart Is by Billie Letts
Best Adult Female Friendship Books
81st out of 420 books — 820 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Michele
Expert Craftsmanship

I enjoyed every minute spent reading The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood. Knitting is far more than just a device in this well-crafted tale. It provides the warmth and the intimacy, and is the central focus for a group of people (mostly women) who are in various stages of emotional distress.

The writing is straightforward and easy to read, and I can't offer enough praise about the expert craftsmanship used to propel the story. It's as though the author follows a pattern as simple
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Erin
A quick and easy read, but yikes--depressing. Not everybody starts knitting because of tragedy. Some of us just like to do it.
Keith Bowden
Didn't really dig The Knitting Circle. Aside from being relentlessly depressing, which I'm okay with, I'm bothered by he inconsistencies and anachronisms (it took 68 pages to firmly establish that Mary is 57 and had Stella when she was 52 - I spent most of the first three score pages trying to reconcile the time line, thinking the present was the '80s, then trying to figure out where it was with the inconsitencies in Scarlet's story).

Her mom's pretty spry for a someone in her late 70s or (consid
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Maggie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kristin Cruz
The Knitting Circle is a semi-autobiographical novel by Ann Hood. She starts the book with a prologue that applies both to her own life and to a character in the book. She says...

Daughter, I have a story to tell you. I have wanted to tell it to you for a very long time. But unlike Babar or Eloise or any of the other stories you loved to hear, this one is not funny. This one is not clever. It is simply true. It is my story, yet I do not have the words to tell it. Instead, I pick up my needles an
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Chelsey
This book would definitely fall under the heading of "chick lit," which is not my cup of tea to begin with, and I'm afraid it did nothing to shake my perceptions of the genre. I found myself getting extremely frustrated with the main character and her refusal to do anything to improve her life, although, as a mother, her story touched me. There were several elements of the novel that were completely unbelievable, including the fact that every single one of the women had amazingly tragic pasts. H ...more
Stacy
It's been a tough one to walk away from. This book had left me numb (extremely close to the feeling left after reading The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle).

The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood is a self written autobiographical novel about a young couple coping with the loss of their only child, their daughter, after a quick battle with Meningitis.
This book was penned by Ann Hood after the loss of her own child after dealing with viral strep.

The story in The Knitting Circle is painful and
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Mary Anne
Just started reading this last night and found it very hard to put down. It is easy to read and so far a good story. I read about half of it last night. Will update when I am finished.
I am now finished with the book - took me only about two days to read. One evening, one lazy afternoon, and another late evening.
I found it a good story about pain of loss and getting past the pain into a more hopeful state. It was at times depressing and scary because of the loss of the central character's daugh
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Michelle
Mentions the characters' 2 week visit to NS - strawberry festivals, church halls, fiddle music! :) The authour is from Providence RI and it reminded me of my memories to her city :)

Funny, a reviewer before me called this "relentlessly depressing" but i think it's more bittersweet. Anyone who has experienced a tragedy that felt, to them at least, quite significant will be able to identify with the pain of these characters. I enjoyed hearing their life sories, how the overcame adversity, or in som
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Rebecca Foster
Before Hood explicitly vented her grief over her daughter’s death in the 2008 memoir Comfort, she first tried to find catharsis in fiction, with this sweet little novel. The Knitting Circle focuses on a group of women who, like Hood, have all turned to knitting to save their lives after experiences of bereavement or suffering. Mary is the stand-in for Hood, having just lost her five-year-old daughter Stella; as she comes to know the other ladies who frequent Big Alice’s Sit and Knit group, she l ...more
Rebekah
Ann Hood took tragic characters to an art form. The Knitting Circle’s Mary Baxter has tragically lost her daughter over night to a horrible illness and she can’t recover from it. Eventually her mother forces the issue and sends her to knitting therapy. While in this therapy she meets a litany of tragic characters, another tragically dead child, a victim of a gang rape, a daughter with a heart condition from birth, boyfriend of an AIDS patient, and just for cappers, a cancer patient.
Each story t
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Lisa of Hopewell
Aug 22, 2013 Lisa of Hopewell rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Kleenex wasters
Shelves: audio-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Doreen
Sep 28, 2014 Doreen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Diane and Marisa
Recommended to Doreen by: Theresa Niemiec, library patron
Yes, this book has several depressing stories within its covers. Still, it's worth reading. For those of us who love to knit or crochet, it's easy to relate to the calming, distracting power that knitting offers. And through this knitting group the specific sorrows, choices, losses, and struggles of its members are relatable. Yes, it's hard to imagine all this drama within one knitting group, but that's why it's called fiction!
There's an awful lot of sadness in the women's stories, but as in l
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Elizabeth
Mar 06, 2009 Elizabeth rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: NOT mothers of small children!
Shelves: chick-books
Discovered this in the display of books by women authors at the library, for Women's History Month. I was definitely interested in reading another book about females pulling together to help each other through hard times, especially in the context of crafting together.

I liked the writing, definitely, because I felt pulled into the story. I cried my eyes out, though, and I don't think the book needed to be so relentlessly sad. Maybe it did, though, because it sort of helped you to realize that th
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Sue Smith
I was in the mood for a bit of chick lit..... and one that featured knitting, well - that just completed the desire.

What I wasn't expecting was the sadness. I didn't really want a book that dealt with sadness - with grief - I wanted one that maybe dealt with something a little "emotional" but not necessarily one with a great big swimming pool depth of grief. *sigh*. If I hadn't such a pull to the knitting side of the story - if it wasn't fall and cool - I could have easily put down this book an
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Sheila DeChantal
Knit one...

Mary Baxter lives in Providence, R.I.. After losing her five year old daughter, Stella to meningitis, Mary struggles even getting out of bed. Her marriage to her husband Dylan seems to be crumbling as Mary's depression makes it impossible to be there for him, let alone even smile. Her job as a writer for a local newspaper has become unbearable and she has bitter memories of her child hood and even adult life connects to her own mother who always has seemed distant and aloof and curren
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Shonna Froebel
Mary Baxter is reeling from the recent death of her only child, Stella, of meningitis, at the age of five. She hasn't been going to work, or seeing friends or doing much of anything. Her mother, now living in Mexico, urges her to begin to knit to help with recovery. Mary joins a knitting circle in nearby Providence, Rhode Island, and as she learns knitting skills, she begins to connect with the people around her.
The book flows well, but I found that having everyone in the knitting circle recover
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Angie
One of the main reasons why I believe people turn to knitting after a tragic loss is because, in knitting, you can fix your mistakes. You can re-do stitches and manipulate them in a way that is pleasing to you; that makes you happy. With a tragic loss, you cannot fix it, you cannot re-do the events that led up to the loss. The person seeks ways to deal, or not deal, with the pain that he or she is left with. As seen in this book, each character tries to help Mary fix her knitting; a dropped stit ...more
Manda
Again, another 3.5 stars.

I did like this book, but, and in my case it is a big but, it is full of tragedy, and I don't really want to be reading too much tradegy. Yes, it makes me feel very grateful for what I have, but I have been through the emotional wringer too much myself too recently to want to go there again. The way that the issues heal is very truthful though.

The basic premise of the book is that knitting is wonderful therapy, something I will most definitely not be disagreeing with. B
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Kristen
This was an inspirational read. It really brought home the kind of peace that I receive as a knitter myself. Some of the quotes in the book have really spoken to me, such as "Every stitch is a prayer". The stories of these women in the Knitting Circle (which takes place in Providence and other locales in New England) are heartbreaking and at times thought-provoking. I enjoyed this book more than "The Friday Night Knitting Club", if only because what melodrama there was in this book, it wasn't ho ...more
Alisa
An endearing tale of what it takes to get through to the other side of grief and loss, the consequences of avoiding it, and the various obstacles we create to avoid human connections and compassion. A bit disjointed at times, a wonderful reminder that everyone has their secrets, their sorrows, their joys, and little else helps more than our communities in daily trials and tribulations.
*Rounded up from 3.5 stars.
Mauri
A bit sappy and unrealistic. Also, the author has problems with time.

1. It is impossible to have your 25th wedding anniversary in November and, three weeks later in December, lose your son and daughter-in-law in the September 11th terrorist attacks.

2. You cannot, especially if you are a beginning knitter, knit the top six inches of a sock and turn the heel on size 1 needles during a 45 minute conversation. Unless I missed the bit about where "they sat in silence for about 12 hours, while Mary kn
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Cathy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Holli
ok. hmmmm. I liked this book and I didn't. I thought the characters could have been more developed and the book longer....it felt lacking in some places. I wanted more feeling. I would just start to feel bad for these people and want to cry for them and then it would switch to another person and we wouldn't hear about the other one again really. I just felt like I was almost...sorta kinda....just about there with the characters and then they would shut down.

I gave it 3 stars though because it to
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JoAnn
I think the premise of this novel is quite good, and the main character's struggle to deal with the death of her five year old daughter quite valid and realistic, perhaps autobiographical. Reading this book made me want to start knitting again! I had forgotten how mindlessly using your hands in this way can be such good therapy. However, the novel falls short when dealing with the other characters stories - how realistic is it that they would each open up to the main character so quickly, so ord ...more
Lelah
Ok, I don't think many people want to learn to knit because a tragedy has happened to them, so that is the reason why I gave it 4 stars. However, I am a sucker for horrifically depressing books. If you are not, then don't read this. Especially if you have children! Holy moly. The main character's story is based on Hood's real life, and learning that was so heartbreaking. But still, this isn't a bad novel because it's sad, it is structured very well and is tied together nicely in the end. It's ab ...more
La Fenice Book
Sono stata alcuni giorni senza leggere e questo mi ha fatto molto riflettere.

Il club dei ricordi perduti...l'ho concluso non pochi giorni fa e non ho inserito subito la RECENSIONE ma ho voluto attendere.

The Knitting Circle è un libro davvero toccante, di forza, di coraggio, d' illusione di paura e d'amore. Molte volte rileggendo il libro mi sono chiesta se l'autrice fosse la stessa identica persona del libro, la protagonista che affonda nella sua sofferenza senza riuscire a tirarsene fuori.

Così
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Rhonda Filipan
The Knitting Circle was my second Ann Hood novel but not my favorite. I was expecting more character complexity like Hood created in The Obituary Writer. However, The Knitting Circle reminded me of a Lifetime made-for-TV movie. The story is about Mary, a woman who joins a knitting circle to assuage her grief over the death of her daughter. Through new-found friendships with other women in the group, each with her own tale of woe, Mary eventually heals. No big surprise. The plot has been done to ...more
Mullgirl
Every once in a great while, I stumble on a book that I was not only meant to read, but I was also meant to read it right that moment. And our meeting up seems so haphazard and coincidental.

I bemoaned around the start of the new year that I had nothing to read in my to be read pile. And so I spent an hour at the local large book seller browsing the fiction aisles and writing down book names or just author names to go research a little more. I don’t remember researching The Knitting Circle, but s
...more
Elizabeth
Wow. This book is not for whimps, or highly sensitive and emotional people. Being a fairly sensitive and emotional person, this book was a bit of a challenge to listen to on audiobook. That did not change the fact that it was really a good book though. Lately I've been going crazy with my knitting, and I like listening to audiobooks about the subject while I engage in a project. While this book is not the mostly chick-lit-ish quality of others like The Friday Night Knitting Club series, reading ...more
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cover to cover 4 49 Nov 02, 2013 04:52AM  
Mansfield Public ...: The Knitting Circle Review by Sharon Wapen 1 2 Jul 03, 2013 09:36AM  
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  • Crazy Aunt Purl's Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair: The True-Life Misadventures of a 30-Something Who Learned to Knit After He Split
  • Unravelled
  • Knit Two Together (Chicks with Sticks, #2)
  • KnitLit (too): Stories from Sheep to Shawl . . . and More Writing About Knitting
  • Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously
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Ann Hood is the author of six works of fiction, including the bestseller The Knitting Circle and, most recently, The Obituary Writer, as well as a memoir, Comfort. She is also the editor of Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting. The winner of two Pushcart prizes as well as Best American Food Writing, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Spiritual Writing awards, she lives in Providence, R ...more
More about Ann Hood...
The Obituary Writer The Red Thread Comfort: A Journey Through Grief An Italian Wife Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting

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“No mother should lose her child.” 24 likes
“The only language she could speak was grief. How could he not know that?
Instead, she said, "I love you." She did. She loved him. But even that didn't feel like anything anymore.”
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