Book Review, Fiction, Women's Fiction

Book review: The Friday Night Knitting Club (Kate Jacobs)

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The reviewing bug has bit me in recent weeks; I find myself posting comments all over forums and blogs about the various books I’ve read and movies I’ve seen. So I decided to give regularly scheduled reviews a try; that way, I can share the good things I’ve experienced with my readers, and help them avoid the ones that still regularly give me the shivers.

About a week ago, I was bored and walked by a book store. Not a good combination; my feet forced me inside and the next thing I knew, I walked out with the equivalent of a week’s rent in books. One of them was purely an impulse buy; I love knitting and couldn’t resist the title The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacob.

I also happen to like well-written chick flicks with some substance, and this book seemed to have substance. The story revolves around the owner of a yarn shop, Georgia Walker. When she found out thirteen years ago that she was pregnant, Georgia thought her only viable option was to move back to her parents house. A chance encounter with Anita, a older widower, changes her luck as Georgia realizes that she can bank on her knitting talent to make a living for herself. From knitting on commission, Georgia opens her own yarn store, Walker and Daughter, where a group of women start meeting every Friday evening to knit. They soon become close friends and, while each admires the other for the seemingly perfect life she leads, they come to realize that none of them have a perfect life and they all need one another to survive.

The book is well written, easy to read and yes, with quite some substance. The storylines are touching and, because each character is at a different point in their life, every reader will find at least one character they can identify with.

A disappointing aspect is the relative lack of depth in character development. While the reader gets to know the characters pretty well, I didn’t feel like I knew them enough to get attached to them. I was interested enough in their lives to see where they were going and finished the book – but I wish the character development had been such that I would have felt their sorrow and joy more acutely, as their friend rather than a passive observer.

The other thing that I didn’t quite like about the writing is the constant changing of point of view (POV). One moment we are in the POV of one character then we jump to another and only a few lines later to yet another. I have the impression this might have in part caused the relative lack of depth described earlier. Choosing one POV per chapter and analyzing everything from it would not only have increased its consistency, but also aroused our curiosity by not revealing everything about everyone; it would have made the story less of a chronicle and more of a diary.

I would still recommend this book to anyone looking for a book with substance, but for readers looking for more depth, I would encourage them to take the time to digest each major event.

The book has an official website, but you’ll probably find the author’s official website more interesting. I , for one, prefer her blog.

Enjoy, and do drop a line if you read the book!

First published on Sahar’s Blog on 14 September 2008–I’ve come a long way since then!

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