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?
The Red Thread is a wonderfully written novel chronicling the lives of five couples, along with the adoption agency director, as they go through the process of adopting a baby girl from China. We see their high pointsand low points; their excitementand their jitters. Fraught with emotion, Ann Hood puts a spell on the reader and she seamlessly moves us through the families stories, from their initial meeting, to the home study, to the paperwork, to the months and months of waiting to hear from the Chinese government, and finally to the trip to China to pick up the babies. Through each section of the story, we get the adoption director, Mayas, point of view, as well as the perspective of each family as they struggle with the emotional upheaval that the process brings onto them.
Maya comes with her own set of demons and it is agonizing to read her inner turmoil and how she is haunted by a freak accident that resulted in the death of her infant daughter. It destroyed her and it destroyed her marriage. Through this book, Maya does begin to heal, but she is very tentative and does not want to get emotionally involved with anyone, for fear of losing them, too. I enjoyed reading about Maya's journey and how through her work as an adoption agency director, she is able to begin the healing process.
One of the best parts of the book are the stories of the Chinese mothers and fathers who are forced to give up their baby girls. China has very strict laws about having one child, with the male child being the most desirable. If a family has a daughter first, they are allowed to try for a son, but if a second girl is born, there are strict punishments on those families. Thus, many women are forced to give up their little girls leaving them in parks, on police station steps, or at orphanage doors - in order to avoid punishment. It is utterly heartbreaking and I cannot imagine the pain that these families must endure, hoping that their children end up in good homes. I truly loved reading their stories and it added so much depth to the novel.
I love the magical theory of the red thread, that people are destined to be together. I believe in fate and destiny and I loved reading about the invisible red thread that brought the American families and their abandoned Chinese daughters together. It truly was pure magic.
I thoroughly loved this book and I would highly recommend it. If I could give it more than 5 stars I would thats how much I loved it.
This novel was moving, heart wrenching, and beautiful- much like adoption itself. A real tearjerker in my opinion, especially for an adoptive partent like myself. Get the Kleenex! I know it is a fictional story, but it seemed like every adoptive couple in the story had a deep, dark secret, or an ulterior motive. Not all adoptive parents are looking to replace a lost child, or aren't satisfied with the one they have, or gave up a baby in their past. I guess I'm kinda sensitive about the way adoptive parents are portrayed and the generalizations that are sometimes made. Felt like the sex/romance parts were too much- I really didn't need to read about the sex lives of 20 couples.
There were so many characters in this book, none of them memorable, that up until the very end I was still not sure who was who. The people seeking these adoptions were surprisingly inappropriate candidates to adopt. Often the couples weren't even both in favor of adopting. I had a hard time picturing them OR finding them believable. A few I actually disliked, especially Susannah who
was embarassed by her own disabled child and seemed to want a 'replacement' that was perfect. The stories of the Chinese families were very sad, so all the more reason for these babies to go to happy stable homes. Maya had her own secret and her own guilt to deal with. She did seek to work through that in the story, and seemed to be on her way to forgiving herself yet I'm not sure this was the best moment to bring a new daughter into her own life. The idea of 'the red thread' running through our lives is thought provoking but the story seemed unrealistic to me, the pre adoption time frame too short and the adoptive parents unsuitable. The last minute baby switch also probably would not have happened in real life. A good idea, not well executed. It could have been so much more!
The writing is some of the worst that i have come across. Lots of cliche charachters and scenes. Too much focus on the adult relationships. Way too many characters for such a short book. I'm not sure why I finished it.
I think this is an absolutely wonderful book. It is about an American woman that runs an adoption agency named The Red Thread. The agency specializes in placing baby girls from China with American families. The author tells us about each family that would like to adopt (from the beginning to the end of their journey) and tells us how each child became eligible to be adopted. For me, as far as this author is concerned, I don't like her books from earlier in her writing career as much as the ones she's written later.
The strange thing about this novel was how much I liked it, but I hated every damn character in there except for the Chinese women who gave up their babies. They were the only ones that pulled at my heart strings. The rest of the entire lot were selfish, manipulative, obnoxious, self absorbed shit heads. Not one of them deserved a baby. I hate to say it but I was hoping that all the adoptions would fall through. It just made me sick how they treated each other, their spouses, and their other children. Although it seemed that towards the end they all repented or were trying to, but it never convinced me and it seemed too unbelievable how fast they did so. Is it possible they could have did a 360? It's possible, but not like they did.
This novel about a group of people seeking to adopt children from China, and the American facilitator who runs The Red Thread Adoption Agency, also includes brief glimpses into the lives of the women who have given up their baby girls. For whatever reason, this one just didn't come to life for me.