Hannibal Free Public Library

 The Knitting Circle

Ann Hood

December 5, 2011


We all have tragedies, disappointments and bad times in our lives. Odds are a fair number of us have used knitting to help us get through those tough times. Doing something with your hands, making something beautiful and being able to focus on the stitches instead of whatever is wrong can be deeply comforting.  

That truth is at the heart of Ann Hood's new novel, The Knitting Circle, a heartbreaking and heartwarming story about the power of knitting to save us.

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  1. “Time heals all wounds.” So goes an old saying. How does time affect the process of mourning as witnessed in the lives of the women in The Knitting Circle?
  2. What is it about knitting that makes the activity so therapeutic?
  3. Describe the different reactions to loss experienced by the various characters in the novel. What do they hold in common? What makes each individual’s situation unique?
  4. Mary frequently reacts to others with feelings of envy and bitterness at their good fortune, from Beth to Jessica. What insecurities on Mary’s part are revealed in her interactions with other characters in the novel?
  5. Is Mary too self-indulgent when it comes to emerging from her grief?
  6. Describe the importance of forgiveness in the healing processes of the characters in The Knitting Circle.
  7. Why does it take so long for Mamie to open up to her daughter about her earlier difficulties in life? Is she entirely to blame for her reticence, or is Mary partly responsible as well?
  8. How is Mary’s troubled relationship with Mamie manifested in her grief over Stella?
  9. How does Mary and Dylan’s understanding of the bond of marriage evolve over the course of the novel?
  10. Why doesn’t Mary’s relationship with Connor last?

Adapted from: knitting.about.com/od/reviews/fr/knitting_circle.htm