In her admired works of fiction, Ann Hood explores the transformative power of literature. Now, with warmth and honesty, Hood reveals the personal story behind these works of fiction. Growing up in a household that didn't foster the love of literature, Hood channelled her imagination and curiosity by devouring The Bell Jar, Marjorie Morningstar, The Harrad Experiment and other works. These titles introduced her to topics that could not be discussed at home: desire, fear, sexuality and madness. Later, Johnny Got His Gun and The Grapes of Wrath influenced her political thinking and Dr. Zhivago and Les Miserables stoked her ambition to travel the world. With characteristic insight and charm, Hood showcases the ways in which books gave her life and can transform-even save-our own.