Book Excerpt: 'The Survivors Club'

The publisher provided the following excerpt of "The Survivors Club" to ABC News. The book will be published Jan. 26, 2009. Click here to visit The Survivors Club Web site.

Chapter One: A Knitting Needle Through the Heart

The Three Rules of the Survivors Club:

The knitting needle pierced her heart. Then it saved her life.

Ellin Klor savors the irony, but it wasn't always so, especially when doctors cracked open her chest in the operating room to pry out the wooden needle that had punctured her breastbone and penetrated her right ventricle. Today her ? ngers stroke her yellow blouse, tracing the spot where she was speared. You would think that a spike as thick as a Number 2 pencil in your heart would ? nish you off. But, no.

January 9, 2006, was her lucky day.

It began as an ordinary Monday. The fty-six-year-old children's librarian went to work in Santa Clara, California, then drove the after-school car pool for her daughter and fixed dinner for her family. Klor is a spark plug, pulsing with the energy of countless hobbies and an endless list of projects. Her choice that night was whether to make table deco-rations for a scholarship fund-raiser at school or to go to a meeting of her new knitting group. She almost stayed home but was anxious to show the gang some new patterns. So she grabbed three bags stuffed with books, yarn, and needles, and headed to a friend's house on Portal Avenue in Palo Alto. The knitting circle had been meeting for less than a year, and Klor loved being the teacher.

She parked her tan station wagon on the quiet street lined with London plane trees. Already late, she could tell from the other cars that some of the knitters had arrived. She hoisted her bags from the backseat. "The scourge of a librarian," she recalls, "carrying too much stuff around." Hurrying across the sidewalk, she followed the pathway to the one-story ranch house. The curtains were drawn and the porch was lit softly. Klor climbed the first of two wide steps, hardly treacherous, and then stubbed her foot. Suddenly she was falling down. Hands full with three bags, she tumbled forward and slammed into the ground, landing chest-first on a sack filled with unfnished knitting. She rolled over, stood right up, and scolded herself: You shouldn't have been carrying so many things.

Klor is five foot four with soft hazel eyes and a generous round face. She's admittedly a little plump and has always been a bit of a klutz, banging into things and tipping over, so her latest spill wasn't exactly a surprise. A quick check: Her knee was scraped but her clothes weren't torn. When she took a breath, her chest hurt, but she figured it was nothing. So she collected herself, gathered up the bags, knocked on the door, and was greeted by her girlfriend.

Inside, the knitters were already working in the living room. Klor wanted to get started, but the ache in the middle of her chest was growing worse with each breath. It wasn't an ordinary pang. This was different. She looked down at her red Façonnable sweater and lifted it up. The next image is ingrained in her memory. A jagged splinter of a wooden knitting needle, nearly four inches long, was jutting from her chest. It had broken in half, piercing her clothing and lodging in the middle of her bra right between her breasts.

"Oh my God," she whispered.

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