Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life

Sutton Foster. Grand Central, $28 (224p) ISBN 978-1-5387-3428-5

Stage, screen, and cabaret star Foster dazzles with this deeply personal debut told largely through crafts ranging from baby blankets to bonbon recipes. After the actor encountered mean girls at age 19 on her first national theater tour—as the understudy for Marty, Rizzo, and Sandy in Grease—she took up cross-stitching as a way to cope. “I call it my gateway craft,” she writes, noting how generations of women in her family have expressed themselves in a similar fashion. The more she cross-stitched, Foster explains, “the less I cared what other people thought about me.” This revelation set her on a path to crafting her way through every production she’s ever starred in—from her Tony Award–winning performances on Broadway to her role on TV’s Younger (where she crocheted a pink dinosaur for her daughter). In prose both brutally honest and deeply empathetic, she writes of her struggle with panic attacks and of knitting, collaging, and baking as a way to ease anxiety about major life events—including a very public divorce—but also as a means to celebrate more joyous moments, such as adopting her daughter, Emily, and marrying her husband, screenwriter Ted Griffin. Those struggling with mental health or family problems will find this incredibly moving. Agent: Mollie Glick, CAA. (Oct.)