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The Red Thread

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  3,101 Ratings  ·  505 Reviews
“In China there is a belief that people who are destined to be together are connected by an invisible red thread. Who is at the end of your red thread?” After losing her infant daughter in a freak accident, Maya Lange opens The Red Thread, an adoption agency that specializes in placing baby girls from China with American families. Maya finds some comfort in her work, until ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published May 2nd 2011 by W. W. Norton Company (first published May 1st 2010)
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Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharon Metcalf
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I am so grateful to have found BT. My reading experiences this year have been incredible and it's largely thanks to the thoughtful reviews I've been exposed to and the challenges we've been set. Ann Hood was our author read for the month of June was one I otherwise may never have discovered but she has gone onto my steadily growing list of favourite authors. This book was exactly the sort I love and has left me hungering for more of her work.

This passage particularly resonated with me as a mum,
The real poignancy in this novel for me was the stories of the Chinese women who had to give up their baby girls because of the barbaric "one child policy" impossed on approximately one-third of the population. How utterly heartbreaking.

Yet in this novel we rejoice with couples longing for a child who are able finally to adopt a beautiful little daughter.
Jul 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women, fiction
Ann Hood's novel about families adopting daughters is based upon her own experience. Three years after her daughter died unexpectedly from an illness, Ann and her husband adopted a daughter from China. In the preface of her book, she tells of the Chinese belief that a silken red thread of destiny is a magical cord connecting a child's soul to all of the people, past, present, and future, who will play a part in the child's life. Over time, the thread shortens, bringing closer all those who are f ...more
Sep 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't find this too close to home to enjoy, and I was relieved to get it b/c I had been waiting on the list to get it for a long time now. Through all of the couples, the author tried to portray the complicated wellspring of sometimes contradictory and shifting emotions surrounding infertility and adoption between husband and wife, both as a couple and as individuals, and while interacting w/ those of family members, friends, support network, etc. As for the process itself, some things were t ...more
Alo Evans
Jan 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good enough to start and finish in one day. I had not read a fiction book that I could do that with for some time. I was surprised at the great number of characters introduced and how it was not an interference. Normally, books with dozens of characters can get confusing and make readers have to return to previous pages to remember who did what. This was so well put together, that I did not find I had to do this. The chapters alternated between families who were considering adoption, the woman w ...more
Apr 07, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The stories of the Chinese mothers who had to give up their daughters were heartbreaking. The stories of those families who were trying to adopt a child did not touch me quite so deeply. Of course, I sympathized with them and was happy with them but the majority of them were just such despicable, unlikable people. I believe that even though this was work of fiction, it was also a cathartic work for Ann Hood who underwent this process in reality. However, did she not meet any happy ,kind, moral, ...more
Deborah Pickstone
I hoped for more. Quite well written but unlikely version of the adoption of abandoned babies from China. I note the author has done this herself but this version is rather romanticised, as if all it takes to sort out marriages is a baby - when it's more accurately the greatest strain you can place onto a marriage. Most of the characters in the story weren't even very likeable so I hardly cared what they wanted, more felt concern at the thought of harmless children, already abandoned, being hand ...more
When I was in high school, I discovered Ann Hood's debut novel Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine (through a "Sassy" magazine review, if I recall correctly.) It became a touchstone novel, one that I return to often, and have grown and changed in my understanding and impact, but still love (thinking I should re-read, actually.) I was giddy when I discovered Ann writing for a parenting magazine when my kids were small, have read her books through the years, and grieved when I read that she lost her ...more
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although I hoped to enjoy the story line of this book, I ended up being very disappointed. I work in the adoption field and fear that readers get a very wrong idea about what it's like to pursue an international adoption.

The points I would like to make about this book are:

~ families are never perfect and social workers shouldn't expect them to be, but they MUST be stable to adopt. Amongst the dynamics of the prospective adoptive families, there was adultery, substance abuse, partners who were o
Jul 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 mar ...more
Jun 17, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about several families who adopt baby girls from China, and about the women in China who gave them up for adoption. It was really interesting to read about the different issues in the lives of the adopting families, and to think about the different reasons why a mother in China would give up her baby (apparently it's illegal to give up a child for adoption, but they do it anyway, and they try to do it so that the child will still be cared for but not by them). I did feel like the ...more
Jul 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book Ann Hood treats the reader to a beautiful concept when she writes –“there exits a silken red thread of destiny and when a child is born this invisible red thread connects the child’s soul to all the people – past, present and future – who will play a part in that child’s life”. The book’s title refers to this exquisite inspirational Chinese proverb and follows Maya, who through The Red Thread Adoption Agency places abandoned Chinese girl babies with American parents. This is an enga ...more
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 - 4. Grabbed by the title as the mom of a daughter from China (she had me at "ni hao"), compelled by the stories of families in the adoption process and a story of infant loss. There is a great deal of hope here, with more soap-opera-esque interactions between this travel group than ours (at least that I knew about!). But if those lost some of their grip on me, I was immediately drawn by the stories of the biological families and all the possibilities for why a family would have to give up t ...more
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book I have read by Ann Hood. I loved The Obituary Writer. I enjoyed this book just as much. The Red Thread was a recommendation and I wasn't dissapointed. I could barely put this book down.The story moved quickly. This story centers around Maya and her ownig an adoption agency known as The Red Thread. The children that Maya works with are from China, and are girls. This reading made for some interesting history also about the struggles of the Chinese mothers basically forced ...more
Dec 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a number of families who are going through the process of adopting babies from China. I liked it and would recommend it if you are interested in that sort of thing. However, it really wasn't a great book. First, I found it hard to keep track of the many families in the first half of the book. Second, again in the first half of the book, the individual families/characters seemed too much the same; it took a while for each character to develop a unique voice (too long in my opin ...more
Because I recently read a short story by Ann Hood, I decided to read this novel. The subject, parents who yearn for their own baby and decide to travel the road to adoption and the birth mothers in China who are forced to abandon their baby daughters, brings me to my knees. While one might be tempted to comment on the lives of some of the potential American parents in this novel – Are they adopting for the “right” reason? Shouldn’t they be above reproach in every aspect of their lives? – that wo ...more
Mar 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't really care for this book. It talks about six couples who are going to adopt baby girls from China. Every single one of them is going through something different. One couple has had several miscarriages, one couple had a baby with down syndrome and are afraid to try again, etcetera. There are the husbands who don't want to adopt and the wives that do, etc. While each couple was unique, I felt like I had read all of it before. And none of the problems get resolved in the end. The woman w ...more
Dec 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This main character in this story is Maya Lange -- a woman who has a tragedy in her past. Maya opens The Red Thread adoption agency based on the experiences surrounding that tragedy. The agency places unwanted baby girls from China with American families. The novel focuses on five families seeking adoptions. However, it also includes brief stories of the birth mothers and how they came to relinquish their babies. It was an interesting concept.

The adoptive family consist of a wide array of chara
May 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once I made myself a character list to refer back to so I could keep all the couples straight (I read on a Kindle, which makes flipping back through the pages to refresh my memory more difficult), I truly enjoyed reading about Maya, the owner of the Red Thread Adoption Agency, and the couples she steers through the adoption process. Each character (including Maya) has his/her own secrets and yearnings for the reader to discover as the story unfolds, and what appears obvious isn't--and the book i ...more
Jun 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, but didn't find it to be entirely plausible. It was very interesting to consider the varried perspectives of couples who have decided to adopt and the variances in their commitment or desire to do so even between husbands and wives. I supposed I would have expected unreserved unanimity between a husband and wife when making such a life-changing decision that also requires significant time and financial resources. That said, I thoroughly appreciate the belief that certain peo ...more
The Red Thread
Questo è uno di quei libri che definisco "carino". Una storia piacevole senza particolari pretese. Quello che ho apprezzato è la parte relativa all'abbandono delle bambine cinesi (possbile che al giorno d'oggi ancora succedano queste cose terribili? Che le mamme siano costrette a sbarazzarsi dei figli perchè femmine?). Quello che mi è piaciuto di meno è invece il ritratto -poco edificante direi- delle famiglie adottive. Sarà che ultimamente sono un po' stanca di leggere di famiglie
Carolyn Lind
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cd-tape
A fine idea (the red thread connecting lives of adopting parents with babies from China) for a fascinating plot; the result, a decided disappointment. Why the author included so much sex is puzzling. Was it the easiest way to fill up a page? Did she think this would be the best way to entertain the reader? Must there even be an affair going on between two prospective parents?

Several flawed adoptive parents and their flawed motives for adopting did not encourage this reader to anticipate great o
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just what the world needs, more mediocre writing about clueless rich navel-gazing white Americans adopting babies from abroad. Only got the two stars I gave it because the author actually portrays narratives of the women in China who are forced to bring their babies to orphanages to be adopted by foreigners, and shows more empathy for these first mothers ("birth mothers") than your average international adoption parent. The protagonist is somewhat interesting but I essentially felt little empath ...more
Jun 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a big fan of chick lit. All that angst! I don't usually think of Ann Hood as a "chick lit" writer, which is why The Red Thread was on my reading list. The positives of this book: The stories of the Chinese mothers (and in one case, a father) who must give up their daughters are realistic and heartbreaking. Sadly, these situations have been repeated hundreds of thousands of times across China. I also appreciated the path of healing and self-forgiveness that Maya had to walk. But I had a hard ...more
Jul 02, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The redeeming feature of this book was the glimpses throughout of what the imagined birth mothers were experiencing culturally and personally as their daughters were born and given up for adoption. We don't often get that angle on adoption. It all ended a little bit too Hallmark for me...the story of adoption is a lifelong journey that can be fraught with complex stuff and the Hallmark ending serves to perpetuate the illusion we seem so invested in preserving, that being adopted and given a chan ...more
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Terrific read about loss and longing. The novel focuses on several families and their quest for a baby. Each family has grieved their inability to have children of their own and thus embarks on the journey into adopting a baby girl from China. The leader of the adoption agency has her own story of loss to tell. Intertwined are the stories of the Chinese women behind the infants and their reasons for giving up a precious child.
May 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who knew that a novel about China adoption would be so...dirty...and adulterous? Not me. I'm going to be a little wary of my travel group now. The whole time I'm going to be thinking, "We're just here for the baby, thank you very much." Still, it was a fun read except for the sad parts that were semi-autobiographical. Hood is an engaging writer who can tell a story. If you want a quick, light weight and don't mind the dirty stuff it's worth a peek.
Jan 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The short vignettes interspersed throughout this novel telling the stories of Chinese women who must give away their daughters are wrenching. Not sure I believe in the silken red thread of destiny, but I do like thinking that our lives are always connected to those we love.

Yes, you must read this book, if only to educate yourself about the need to campaign for human rights in China.
Sep 16, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The plot of this book sounded so promising...but it ended up being "lives of the Danielle Steel characters try to adopt babies from China." Too much dialog, too much sleeze, not enough desciption. The parts about the people in China who had to give up their children was worth reading. I didn't finish it.
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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
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“There exists a silken red thread of destiny. It is said that this magical cord may tangle or stretch but never break. When a child is born, that invisible red thread connects the child's soul to all the people - past, present, and future - who will play a part in that child's life. Over time, that thread shortens and tightens, bringing closer and closer those people who are fated to be together.” 0 likes
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