Review: Hooked by Sutton Foster

  • Title: Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life
  • Author: Sutton Foster
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Release Date: 10/12/21
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Publisher’s Summary: From the 2-time Tony Award-winner and the star of TV’s Younger, funny and intimate stories and reflections about how crafting has kept her sane while navigating the highs and lows of family, love, and show business (and how it can help you, too). Whether she’s playing an “age-defying” book editor on television or dazzling audiences on the Broadway stage, Sutton Foster manages to make it all look easy. How? Crafting. From the moment she picked up a cross stitch needle to escape the bullying chorus girls in her early performing days, she was hooked. Cross stitching led to crocheting, crocheting led to collages, which led to drawing, and so much more. Channeling her emotions into her creations centered Sutton as she navigated the significant moments in her life and gave her tangible reminders of her experiences. Now, in this charming and poignant collection, Sutton shares those moments, including her fraught relationship with her agoraphobic mother;  a painful divorce splashed on the pages of the tabloids; her struggles with fertility; the thrills she found on the stage during hit plays like Thoroughly Modern Millie, Anything Goes, and Violet; her breakout TV role in Younger; and the joy of adopting her daughter, Emily. Accompanying the stories, Sutton has included crochet patterns, recipes, and so much more! Witty and poignant, Hooked will leave readers entertained as well as inspire them to pick up their own cross stitch needles and paintbrushes.

I have been a big fan of Sutton Foster’s since I was in Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2007. I listened to the cast album on repeat and was blown away by her powerful voice. A few years later, I was lucky enough to get to see her Tony winning performance in Anything Goes. I will never forget how effortless she made incredibly difficult dance numbers look. When my husband and I saw her in Sweet Charity, his immediate reaction was to turn to me and tell me that she is a “true triple threat.” Suffice it to say, I was looking forward to reading a memoir by someone whose work I’ve admired for so long.

While I have followed her career for a long time, I didn’t know much about Foster as a person. I was so moved by her honesty and vulnerability throughout Hooked. We see Foster as a big star now, but she shares stories of castmates making her feel ostracized early in her career and struggling to learn how to lead a Broadway show.

Of course, Foster’s relationship with her mother is the center of this story. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been whenever her mother missed one of her Broadway shows or that her mother refused to acknowledge her husband. It was beautiful to read about the way Foster came to accept her mother for who she was and to set reasonable expectations for their relationship.

I cried reading about her fertility struggles, and I am so grateful Foster chose to share them in this book. So many people are going through the same thing, and they will certainly benefit from feeling even a little less alone.

I also particularly loved Foster’s story about the influence Patti LuPone had on her life. When Foster wrote about watching LuPone sing “Being Alive” on TV and being instantly entranced, I instantly related to that feeling. I also grew up far away from New York City, and I was obsessed with watching whatever musical theater performances I could find. It was a lovely reminder that even the biggest Broadway stars are just theater nerds at heart.

As soon as I finished reading this book, I wanted to give Foster a hug and to thank her for sharing her story with me. It also made me want to run to the Winter Garden Theater and see her in The Music Man.

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