Picks and Pans Review: Comfort

UPDATED 06/02/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/02/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT

A Little Girl's Death, and After by Ann Hood |

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Some things that didn't help novelist Hood after her 5-year-old daughter, Grace, died in 2002: being told she should try Pilates. Going to church (she hated God). Reading about other people who had survived grief. "None of them," Hood writes, "know what it is to lose Grace." This affecting memoir shows what it was, and what brought solace in the dark months and years after her little girl, who loved art, sparkly shoes and overripe kiwis, came down with a virulent form of strep one day and was dead 36 hours later. Undone by sorrow, Hood found respite in knitting—filling her empty arms with soft wool. Her husband's and son's love helped; adopting baby Annabelle in '05 cheered them all. Friends suggested that by sharing her story, "I could help others," Hood writes. "Of course I can't." In graceful prose, Comfort bears witness to the heartbreaking particularity of her—of any—loss. It's what she could do.

QUOTE: 'At night I would wake up in pain, my arms actually hurting with longing for her'

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