If you’ve never read Ann Hood’s books, you’re missing out. Yes, I realize that’s kind of a judgmental statement, but really there’s so much to enjoy about her books, starting with the one I first discovered, Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine, and continuing through The Italian Wife and The Knitting Circle: warm and full-blooded characters involved in realistic situations resolved believably.
Her newest book is called The Book that Matters Most. The protagonist, Ava, is seeing her life fall apart. Her twenty-five year marriage is over, her children are adults off living their own lives and she’s desperate to find some meaning in her life, so she joins a book club, as you do. This is an intriguing book group because the theme for the year is for each person to present “the book that matters most” to him or her. Puzzling over what this might be, Ava rediscovers a book she’d loved when she was growing up, a book that helped her deal with tragedies in her family. As she begins to investigate the source of that book and its mysterious author, her story interweaves with that of her daughter, Maggie, who’s getting involved in a self-destructive relationship with an older man in Paris, and ultimately Ava and Maggie find a chance to understand their histories anew and perhaps even to rewrite their futures.
Any book that celebrates the love of reading is on my “must read” list (and as I said, Ann Hood is always a good read), but I have to say I’m especially intrigued by the question of what book matters most. What would I choose if I were in that book group? What book would you choose? Would your choice change depending on when someone asked you? Feel free to comment and share what would be your “book that matters most” to you.