The Red Thread
Summary (from the publisher): “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 a group of six couples share their personal stories of their desire for a child. Their painful and courageous journey toward adoption forces her to confront the lost daughter of her past. Brilliantly braiding together the stories of Chinese birth mothers who give up their daughters, Ann Hood writes a moving and beautifully told novel of fate and the red thread that binds these characters’ lives. Heartrending and wise, The Red Thread is a stirring portrait of unforgettable love and yearning for a baby.
Review: I read this book about Chinese adoption quickly and enjoyed the reading of it, but in my mind it had a few major flaws. First, the adoption process was portrayed as relatively easy and quick, just some paperwork and then waiting. I have a friend who adopted a special needs daughter from China last year, and so I know for a fact that it is NOT easy and it is NOT quick. It is also quite expensive, and the novel didn't touch on this important aspect of adoption. Second, I didn't like a single one of the couples who were trying to adopt a baby; they were all dysfunctional in some way, and they all seemed to think adopting a baby would solve all their problems. And the counselor helping them with the adoption encouraged this point of view, instead of suggesting that they get counseling before making this life changing decision. In fact, I'm not sure that the social workers who do the home studies and meet with the prospective parents would actually accept their applications. I understand that dysfunctional couples make for a better storyline, but couldn't there have been at least one nice couple? One couple that I actually thought should get a baby? I found myself hoping that all the parents would change their minds or get rejected. Wow, after writing all that, I feel like I should lower my rating....
What did I like about this book? I think this book brings the specific problem of abandoned Chinese girls into the light, and could encourage people to think about foreign adoption in a different way. The stories of the Chinese mothers were touching and felt so real that I found myself crying over the poor mothers who were forced to abandon their beloved daughters. I wish these stories had formed a larger part of the novel.
Rating: 3.5 stars