When I read Jennifer Grant’s reference to a red thread connecting her to their then unknown adoptive child, I immediately remembered this book I read two years ago. Red Thread, named after the Chinese belief that we are tied by an invisible thread to all who will become important in our lives, is Ann Hood’s novel centers around an adoption agency which specializes in Chinese adoptions. Six adoptive families seek Maya Lange and her Red Thread Agency’s expertise in successful overseas adoptions. Chapters alternate between revelations about what has brought each couple to their decisions to adopt and emotional glimpses into the lives of six Chinese birth mothers. The differences between cultures will at time be jarring, even upsetting, but I guarantee you will better understand the painful decisions made by each mother. And for the six babies in this book, new opportunities to be loved and cherished await them. And as the day approaches when each family will be “born,” you will learn more about Maya Lange and her secret heartache.
I have to confess that although I remembered this book instantly when I reread the phrase “red thread” in Jennifer Grant’s memoir, I did not recall too many details about the story. I did remember a strong emotional reaction to the book, a better understanding of reasons foreign children might be abandoned, and a strong woman who told the story. But in fact, I could not remember whether the story was fiction or nonfiction. In a way I believe that is a compliment to author Ann Hood; two years after reading her book I still had such an emotional response that I thought momentarily that Maya Lange was a real person. I am a strong proponent that well written fiction can help us examine some of our most serious topics and The Red Thread is that kind of fiction.