**spoiler alert** I tend to shy away from books w/this type of subject matter (losing children) but for some reason, when I accidentally came across t**spoiler alert** I tend to shy away from books w/this type of subject matter (losing children) but for some reason, when I accidentally came across this book in a 'knitting' search at the library, I didn't shy away from it and I'm glad. Like the author Ann Hood, I too lost my daughter, though under very different circumstances and before Brianna was born. Ann's daughter Grace died suddenly at the too young age of 5.
I had a very difficult time getting into the book though. I wasn't feeling any connection w/the writing. I wasn't feeling anything. Perhaps my knowing that the main character had lost her daughter caused me to steel myself against connecting w/what I was reading so as not to get upset.
The end of Chapter 3 opened me up and I not only connected with Ann's writing, but was very emotional through the rest of the book! I was startled that this book included many incredibly painful issues, which may (or may not) make it difficult, even gut wrenching, for some to read. I expected the loss of young daughters, but there was also abortion, rape, a child's severe illness, divorce, depression, deaths from September 11th... Many other things I've also been through besides losing Brianna.
I'm not trying to discourage anyone from reading it! There are few books that I feel I am better for having read and this makes that list for me! I do believe I felt comforted at the end, knowing that some of the things I've done, said and felt are universal to these kinds of heartbreaks and in that I don't feel so isolated now.
Let me also say this: Do not let the fact that there is knitting in this novel keep you from reading it! It's worth the read whether you knit or not!
Since this is the GoodReads 'ChicksOnLit' group read for July 2008, I'll be re-reading this then and may post an update here when I'm done! ...more
**spoiler alert** Kim's journey from being adopted in Korea around the age of 3 brought her to New Orleans and a new world which she never truly felt**spoiler alert** Kim's journey from being adopted in Korea around the age of 3 brought her to New Orleans and a new world which she never truly felt apart of and this sent her on a long, diffucult journey, nearly around the world as soon as she was old enough. The one constant in her life, from her Grandparents, was food.
This far exceeded my expectations! The NY Times Review (or ad for it) mentioned some comparrison to Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat Pray Love," which made me add this to my 'to read' list, but there's no comparrison! I initially reached page 60 and still didn't know if I liked it! I kept thinking "Why can't she just appreciate what she has and what she's experiencing...?!" and then remembered how her circumstances were drastically different than mine (and a lot of people's) and that things change as we get older.
So I decided to keep an open mind and pressed on! Around page 213, I realized I not only liked it & wanted to keep reading to find out what happened, but could relate to Kim on many levels! (My personal lack of heritage/roots (though as a result of a family who was just never interested in themselves and where they came from), having many of the same types of relationships with men, being overwhelmed by lonliness and restlessness, not knowing what I wanted, where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do, putting everything & anyone before myself and my writing...)
Instead of flipping channels before bed or playing around on my cell phone, I stayed up late into the night reading until I nearly fell asleep with just enough time to put my bookmark back in and turn off my booklight! (Not like I can sleep unless exhausted anyway with Hubby's incessant snoring as of late!) I haven't done this with a book in so long! ...more
(picked up @ the library on 2/9) so far this isn't clicking with me! it seems a bit stereo typical and negative so far. i don't know. i think i felt &(picked up @ the library on 2/9) so far this isn't clicking with me! it seems a bit stereo typical and negative so far. i don't know. i think i felt & did more of this stuff in my teens & 20's than i do now in my 30's! (maybe i'm dyslexic in more ways than one!!!)
for what ever reasons, i've never felt much of the stereo-typical pressures that a lot of women face. did i relentlessly look for love in all the wrong guys & places?! you betcha! in the last 1/2 of my 20's and at first for a year or so in my 30's (because neither of us had been married before and we're "older" than most who marry) i felt as though i was way behind on some things like having a family, owning home and making progress on a career ~ after hubby & i married (in 2005, 4 days after i turned 30 and a month before he turned 40) i got sick to death of being asked "are you pregnant yet?!" and that's about it!
update: finished!!! i liked 7 out of the 27 essays (28 if you count the intro) but i wasn't into the rest! i admire all the authors honesty in their writings regardless! i think i was expecting more diversity in the 'subject matter' based on the description and i think 'motherhood' should be included in the subtitle on the cover!
just fyi, the 7 i liked: 'bedsores and cocktails' by heather juergensen, 'i'm the one' by erin ergenbright, 'the one and only buddha' by samina ali, 'how i see it' by amy meeropol, 'to all the men i've loved before' by amanda eyre ward, 'single, mother' by jennifer baumgardner and 'plus one, plus two, plus three' by louise jarvis flynn ...more
**spoiler alert** I read this as a result of & after reading Ann Hood's fiction novel "The Knitting Circle" recently, which I gave 5 stars to.
I a**spoiler alert** I read this as a result of & after reading Ann Hood's fiction novel "The Knitting Circle" recently, which I gave 5 stars to.
I also lost my daughter, (9 years ago this May) though under completely different circumstances than Ann did and before my daughter, Brianna, was born. Ann's daughter Grace was 5 years old.
On 6/4/08, I wrote the following in the book (I do that unless it's from a library or borrowed from my Aunt!) at the end of Chapter 7 on page 110: "Frustrated a bit! Too repetitive! Too many of the exact same details repeated over and over! Even though there are seperate chapters w/titles, there isn't a smooth transition from one to the next! I feel guilty for writing/feeling this!"
And I did feel guilty given the subject matter and because I loved "The Knitting Circle" so! I felt a deep connection to TKC (perhaps because it included other things I've been though besides the loss of a child) and while there are snippets in Comfort that clicked with me, I kept plugging through looking for that same connection and didn't find it.
But it still felt scattered and repetitive to me, even at the end! But, in the acknowledgments Ann thanks her editors at many different publications where "many of these words found early homes... the editors of anthologies where much of this appeared." This makes it make a bit more sense to me overall, that perhaps each chapter was in fact a short story before being pulled together for the book, which would account for all the repetitions.
But, my own writing about my daughter could be very much of the same! How does one wrap their mind around such a inconceivable heartbreak enough to make sense of it all?! (It cannot be done!) And though we may be connected through this kind of loss, Ann's grief is all her own as mine is mine. I have beared that in mind as I read this book and now write this.
First off, let me say that I doubt I would have heard of this book had it not been the April 2008 group read for the "Chicks on Lit" GoodReads club! BFirst off, let me say that I doubt I would have heard of this book had it not been the April 2008 group read for the "Chicks on Lit" GoodReads club! Based on its' description, I wasn't entirely impressed but decided to give it a try! I was more encouraged after our local library director told me she'd read it and that it was well done and very interesting!
I picked up the book on April 1st and was done on April 7th! (That in and of itself says a lot! I don't know about you, but bad reads don't go fast for me!) What a rare and amazing read! Very few books leave me feeling as though I am better for having read them ~ this is one of those books!
This story is an artful blend of little known facts and fiction, about a woman named Mamah Borthwick Cheney, (Pronounced May-Mah!) who began a scandulous affair with reknowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the (early) 1900's after he designed and built a house for her and her then husband, Edwin Cheney. Mamah is an educated and passionate woman who wanted to live in ways that felt right to her, not in ways that society dictated at that time. (Feminism was close to her heart!) Mamah's relationship with Frank lasted until her death in 1914.
Given the subject matter and time period of the book, I didn't expect it to grab my attention right from the first pages, which it did! Perhaps because I too have desperately sought self-fulfillment and "true" love (and the balance of the two), I immediately related to Mamah's longings and restlessness. However, would I have had the courage to seek these things in Mamah's time, when Feminism was really beginning to take hold throughout the country (US)?! I'd like to think I would, though I'd also like to think that I would've gone about it in different ways than Mamah did, but "hindsight is always 20/20" and my own past indicates otherwise! (That's another story!)
Instead of asking for a divorce and leaving Edwin once she realized she had feelings for Frank, she initially began an intellectual affair, though once she has had her 2nd child, the affair becomes all encompassing and physical. Eventually she leaves her family for Europe to be with Frank. And so begins her painful quest for self identity and fulfillment and love.
It's easy for readers to be upset with Mamah's decisions, but instead of being upset or outraged, I felt painful understanding. I've been guilty of some the same types of decisions in my past! I haven't always made the best decisions when it came to relationships & my life, and my daughter before she passed. And as I said already, I know what it's like to so desperately want to be fulfilled and be loved at the same time! It's natual for us to react that way to what others do ~ then more often than not, we act in the same manner!
Whatever the case may be, this book is a wonderful achievement as a first novel! So well written! I traveled with ease throughout 7 or so years of Mamah's life, feeling her pain & joy, seeing the sights she saw, living the life she so courageously lived & fought for and mourned the loss of her and her children upon learning of their untimely and unfair passings.
**spoiler alert** Though I heard of this book in 2006 (see who I say recommended it to me), by the time my interest peaked enough to actually read it,**spoiler alert** Though I heard of this book in 2006 (see who I say recommended it to me), by the time my interest peaked enough to actually read it, I was also very hesitant to do so because of all the "hype" about it! Then I why did I go & buy the book? Because the waiting list at both our local libraries is over a year long and once I saw Liz's first appearance on Oprah in October (2007), I couldn't resist the book any longer. (Curiosity killed the cat as they say).
Usually, this isn't my type of book, but I can honestly say that it is, so far, the most honestly written memoir I've read to date and for that it's amazing. (That's the main reason I gave it to 3 of my girlfriends for Christmas 2007). I under-lined many, many sentences in the book that I relate to or which stuck a chord with me.
I lost interest at times when I felt I couldn't relate to some of the, what I call 'frou frou' spiritualism aspects of it. Now before you get annoyed at me, please keep reading! I'm not saying people can't truly have & believe they have had experiences like that. I just can't relate because I haven't experienced anything to that degree and don't expect to. That's just not me, but, that's okay on both sides of the coin. ("I'm okay, you're okay!")
I also lost interest & got bored during what I call her 'history lessons' that she gives in the book as backgrounds on different places and religious practices because I felt it got a bit too academic (for my taste) and at times too lengthy. I did want more closure at the end given the fact that I know Liz goes on to buy a home and live in western NJ & marries Felipe ~ she ends the book before anything concrete like that happens, but I know that life is never truly finished while living it and hope she'll share more in the future.
Okay, dare I say this?! (Puts on full body armor & holds up shield). Here it goes: Because of most of the comments "Richard from Texas" made to her, I think he's a condescending *&^%$!#! (My humble opinion).
It's been an interesting and emotional read and as usual, I'm a bit sad that it's now over. I wonder, "now what?!"
PS~ I watched both of Liz's Oprah appearances and what worries me after watching the 2nd is the rush to use this book as ones ultimate life guide or "bible," as some viewers kept calling it. That's not what she intended when writing it. (I assume given her reactions to those viewers!)
I realized in my late 20's that no matter how much you look, there's no one book (or even many books) that will give you all of the answers you need. By all means, take some things to heart, challenge your views and file away things as suggestions you can try, but if you take a book like this and use it strictly as guide for your own life, I feel you're still going to end up back where you were before you read it. (Been there & done that, let me tell you!) Liz's path is not the same as mine or yours or anyone's and that is okay! It may be a long & painful road but we'll all get to where we want to be eventually & all in our own ways.
I have battled severe depression for many years now and have been in abusive relationships (I'm not saying hers were) and I think many do not like this book because they cannot relate to that kind of deep & overwhelming pain and being lost, therefore, they feel that she's being selfish, self-absorbed, hopped up on self pity, etc.. I've also come across a bit of jealousy when others say they dislike the book because they may not have the financial means Liz had to be able to do what she did and therefore, they feel she's ungrateful or self indulgent.
Around 2000, I was handed a cushy trader job with a powerful and well known financial company in Manhattan where I'd be making oodles of money and working on the 78th floor of Tower 2 at The World Trade Center. I've always dreamed of working in the city! But, it was NOT what I wanted to do, nor did I have the confidence in myself to handle everything it would've entailed, so I backed out of the job ~ much to the utter dismay of friends & co-workers.
on September 11, 2001, I was at home that morning, sitting on my living room floor with my back against the couch because I'd thrown my back out. I turned on the TV to see Tower 1 of The World Trade Center in Manhattan "on fire." They didn't actually know yet what had happened. a few moments later, I watched a plane fly into tower 2. My tower. My floor. Later I found out that only 2 people from the 78th floor of Tower 2 made it out alive. 2. I feel in my soul that if I'd been there, I would've died that day.
Just because one seems to have "everything," sometimes the price for that "everything" doesn't make it worth having after all.
(Completed 1st time, 1/24/08 after beginning in Oct 2007) (Started again for CoL group read October 2009, finished November 2009). ...more