Ann Hood writes a moving novel of fate and the red thread that binds her characters’ lives. 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. The story follows several families as they attempt to adopt daughters from China. The clients have their own share of heartbreak—miscarriages and infertility—and, predictably, the expectations and reservations about parenthood. The stories of the adopting parents are intertwined with those of the Chinese women who, for various reasons, had to give up their baby girls. The tone here is somber, but in the end these parents are transformed by the healing journeys they have made (provided you can keep them all straight). The tale ends with a pleasing sense that the red thread is more than a myth, especially in Maya’s case.
If you have ever had the opportunity to hear Gina Barreca in person then you know how laugh-out-loud funny she is. Well her new book It’s Not That I’m Bitter…: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World does not disappoint. I was sitting on my deck one recent summer evening reading this, laughing out loud, and hoping none of the neighbors were outside listening. Fans of Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman (which I thoroughly enjoyed also) will find humor along with serious insights about women and aging. Barreca packs a hilarious punch while gleefully rejecting emotional torture, embracing limitless laughter, and showing women how they can conquer the world with good friends (“It’s not that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but a girl’s best friends are diamonds”), sharp wit, and great shoes.