the-knitting-circle2Every 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 somehow I deemed it worthy of approval onto my library hold list. And it’s been sitting in the pile next to my bed for the past 3 weeks.

I read the first chapter more than a week ago, and I promptly put the book back onto the pile and thought, maybe I should just return it and skip this one. It was heartbreakingly clear that the book would rock my world. Instead of returning it, a few days later, after eyeing it distrustfully for a while, I picked it up and read over 200 pages of it that night. And I wept, and I sobbed for the great losses of the women in the Knitting Circle. I finished the second half tonight (and about 1/4 of a box of tissues).

This book is about loss. It’s about deep, abiding, unrelenting, unforgettable loss. The kind of loss that can destroy you; the kind of loss that can suffocate you quietly unless you turn off and learn for a while to become someone who does nothing more than take in air.

If you’ve lost a young child, then run away from this book. I think it would be way too much. But if you’ve lost someone or something else, it might be bearable. This is my first “emotional” read in so many years that I’ve lost count. Emotional it was. But there was something in it that kept ringing out to me as true. After the loss you have to invent something to do, a purpose, a reason for taking up air; this story gives a believable option.

Ordinarily I hate this type of story. It’s why I stay away from books about book groups. There’s usually some very tenuous string between the book group, the books, and the stories of the women therein. And the women are usually whiners, with problems that I just don’t have a lot of sympathy for. Despite this book’s title, I picked it up. I’m glad. It didn’t feel artificial and the knitting stuff flowed; it wasn’t forced; and I buy into the healing that came with it. The women were real to me; their problems far far from the realm of trivial and self-made.

I won’t say that I loved this book because I’m not sure it’s meant to be “loved”. But I will say that I liked it, and more importantly, at least in my life, it was necessary and, Ms. Hood knows and understands loss, and for her very personal sharing, I will be forever greatful.