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The Knitting Circle

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  8,345 Ratings  ·  1,219 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
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 22nd 2007 by W. W. Norton (first published January 1st 2006)
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Jun 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 26, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jul 29, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chic-lit
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
Kristin Cruz
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I normally would not have picked up this book . Even though I have been a lifelong knitter and crocheter, I make it a point to avoid books in which children die or are kidnapped or missing. As a mother, I cannot imagine … no, I cannot even force myself to contemplate… any of my children dead or missing. But life is funny… sometimes a book finds YOU and it turns out to be just what you needed to read at the time.This book, 'The Knitting Circle' by Ann Hood, turned out to be a book I needed to rea ...more
Mar 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Mary Anne
Apr 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Bindu Manoj
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary's life is falling apart after the sudden death of her five year old daughter Stella. While her husband tries to find solace in his work, Mary finds it difficult to get her life back together. That's when her almost estranged mother prods her into joining a knitting circle run by old Alice. The women and a couple of men that she meets there, their own stories of pain and redemption helps her start healing.

After reading mostly non fiction these days, this book came as a welcome change. The pa
Dec 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Ingrid Fasquelle
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ann Hood vit aux Etats-Unis. Elle est l'auteure de quatre autres romans qui ont connu un grand succès populaire et remporté plusieurs prix littéraires. Le cercle des tricoteuses est le roman féminin par excellence. Authentique et douillet, on s'y sent à l'aise, comme au sein d'une vraie famille.

J'ai adoré découvrir les histoires entremêlées de ces femmes qui se réunissent pour passer le temps et profiter des vertus thérapeutiques du tricot ! Au fil de ces soirées, des liens se tissent, des amiti
Lisa of Hopewell
Aug 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Kleenex wasters
Shelves: audio-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Jan 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
I didn't know that this story is based on Author's personal experience. The book took a different meaning after knowing this.

This is a story of survival, from grief and sadness. What I liked in this book was the endless ways how people find calmness in simple hobbies, baking, knitting, talking etc. I personally like doodling or reading light books when I feel low. So I could relate to that. Still it takes a strong will to find solace in some other things when you are troubled with a death, espec
Jan 12, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: knitting
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
D Mulanax
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a gift. Even though much of the book was about loss and grief, I found myself strangely relieved in the last pages as the author tied up so many loose ends of the multiple stories shared by the characters in the knitting circle. It wasn't until I had finished the book and I read in the Reading Group Guide at the back that the author based the premise of the book on her actual experience. I'll definitely see if my Book Club wants make it a group read. At some point, I will read this ...more
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely love love LOVED this book. My goodness, just amazing. I'm so sad from finishing it, and so overcome with thoughts and emotions about the story, that I find it hard to even put this review into words!

Devastated and unable to cope with the the loss of her only child, Mary joins a knitting circle after prompting from her mother. Over time, Big Alice's Sit and Knit becomes Mary's refuge, her lifeline. One by one, the other members of the Sit and knit share their life stories with Mary-
Sheila DeChantal
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: knitting
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
Sue Smith
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Elizabeth Lee
Mar 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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
Feb 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  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
Dec 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, knitting
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
Sep 21, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 01, 2008 rated it liked it
ok. hmmmm. I liked this book and I didn't. I thought the characters could have been more developed and the book 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
May 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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cover to cover 4 50 Nov 02, 2013 04:52AM  
Mansfield Public ...: The Knitting Circle Review by Sharon Wapen 1 3 Jul 03, 2013 09:36AM  
  • Knitting
  • The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society (Sweetgum Knit #1)
  • The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club
  • Knitting Under the Influence
  • Knit in Comfort
  • Casting Off
  • Yarn: Remembering the Way Home
  • Knit One, Kill Two (A Knitting Mystery, #1)
  • Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again
  • KnitLit (too): Stories from Sheep to Shawl . . . and More Writing About Knitting
  • (It's a Purl Thing) (Chicks with Sticks, #1)
  • How to Knit a Love Song (Cypress Hollow Yarn, #1)
  • KnitLit: Sweaters and Their Stories...and Other Writing About Knitting
  • Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitters' Guide: Stories, Patterns, Advice, Opinions, Questions, Answers, Jokes, and Pictures
  • Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously
  • Unravelled
  • 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
Ann Hood is the editor of Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting and the bestselling author of The Book That Matters Most, The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, Comfort, and An Italian Wife, among other works. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, a Best American Spiritual Writing Award, a Best American Food Writing Award, a Best American Travel Writing Award, and the Paul Bowles Prize for Shor ...more
More about Ann Hood...

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“No mother should lose her child.” 25 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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