From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The first six pages of this wrenchingly honest memoir of Hood's daughter's death and its aftermath read like a tightly controlled scream. All the platitudes, the dozens of words of comfort that people offer—time heals, she is in a better place—are interspersed with Hood's silent, furious responses to these lies, with special scorn for those who say, Are you writing this down? The death of her five-year-old Grace in 2002 was completely unexpected: an ordinary strep throat somehow ravaged the organs of her small body. Hood (The Knitting Circle
) takes readers through the slow, jagged steps of dealing with grief. Unable to write, she first took refuge in endless knitting, then got a tattoo on Grace's sixth birthday. Hiding from the Beatles' songs her daughter had loved, she found them so ubiquitous that she could finally listen only to talk radio. Grace's little shoes stood sentinel at the top of the stairs and three years passed before Hood could bear to clean her room. But there is redemption at the end of this short, anguished book. Hood and her husband have a new daughter, Annabelle, adopted from China, and at last, Hood can celebrate Mother's Day, albeit with a strange mixture of grief and joy. (May)
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How does one recover from the plenary grief of losing a precious five-year-old child? Novelist Hood’s answer is simple: one doesn’t. After her daughter died suddenly from an antibiotics-resistant strep infection, she just moved along with life, at first muddling through days and weeks of hearing but not comprehending the advice of well-meaning friends and family. Next, the grief began to shift from being her primary focus to second place, then into periodic episodes of overwhelming anguish. Hood’s sometimes-too-painful-to-read memoir bares all the raw emotions, from denial to despair to anger, that she experienced. The grief never really leaves, she says; it just stops eclipsing all else. Especially after she took up knitting, a pastime that occupied her mind in such a way that she couldn’t knit and grieve at the same time. Ultimately, she, her husband, and their son moved on and, it seems, finally found their way to a likeness of the happiness they once had. --Donna Chavez