Monday, January 25, 2010

Review: Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

Cozy or corny?   A little bit of both, I'm afraid.

This was my book club's pick for January, and I have to admit, I was not excited about reading it.  In fact, I didn't even pick it up until the day before our book club planned to meet.   I had seen the book in the book shop and decided against reading it once I read the blurb.  But, one of the reasons I am in a book club is so I can read books that I normally would not read.  (The other reasons include wine and a few of the most amazing women I have ever met!)

I liked it more than I thought I would.

Georgia, Kitting Club's main character, is a single mom, who, against all odds, makes a comfortable living in New York City running a yarn shop with her pre-teen daughter, Dakota.  Despite not having any family nearby, Georgia and Dakota stumble upon their pseudo-family in what is lovingly known as their Friday Night Knitting Club.

There were certainly parts of this novel that were a tad too cliché for me.  Every age, ethnicity and socioeconomic character was represented, almost making this cast caricatures of the groups from which they come.   Add in the Romeo-type love story, and predictable ending and we have ourselves the formulaic chick-lit book.  Not that there's anything wrong with chick-lit! 

I finished it, though.  Not just because I was reading it for my book club, but because there was a  part of me that was enjoying what I was reading.  I wanted to see what happened to these characters, and I wanted to know if there was going to be a love story in there somewhere.  I found no struggle in reading The Friday Night Knitting Club in less than 48 hours.

Some of the characters I really hated, like Cat Phillips, the former best friend, turned back-stabber, turned needy rich woman.  I believe Kate Jacobs intended her readers to forgive Cat for her past sins, but I just couldn't sympathize or connect with her enough to do so.  If nothing else, Cat's relationship with Geogia allowed us to fall in love with Georgia even more - her strength, her wit, her talent.  There were other characters that I found easy to love, like Anita, Georgia's stand-in mother figure, and KC, Georgia's close friend who spoke with no filter and often became the comic relief of the bunch.   As much as I liked Anita, she was still a bit cliché with the wise woman, fortune cookie dialogue:
"...there's always a better time than right now and there always will be.  But right now is what we've got."

"No, everyone has to knit when they're here.  I promise you.  But not every person has to use yarn."

"We don't always get what we deserve...Sometimes we get more; sometimes we get less.  At least we get something." 
Anita was a spunky lady, though, without whom Georgia would not have grown as a person or as a character.  I found myself rooting for Georgia, and for her relationship with Darwin, the man who left her pregnant twelve years ago. 

As many criticisms as I have about this book, there is one more positive thing I must say.  Knitting Club was an easy, enjoyable read.  No, it wasn't a work of great literature, but it was a readable story that could very easily be made into a likable movie.  Critics have described it as the Steel Magnolias of Manhattan.  Switch out the beauty salon for a knitting store and I could agree with that.


The Friday Night Knitting Club Website
where you can Read an Excerpt of The Friday Night Knitting Club
Kate Jacobs website
The Friday Night Knitting Club movie is in production, with Julia Roberts starring as Georgia Walker

About The Book:
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult (January 18, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399154094
ISBN-13: 978-0399154096

FTC Statement:  I purchased this book myself. 

Personal Statement:  My apologies to the book gods for defiling this book.  I was reading late at night, got spooked by a bug, and accidentally smashed a stink bug with it.  The stench was putrid and could not be washed out, wiped out, or Lysol-ed out.  Therefore, it had to be destroyed.


Debbie Tole said...

Thanks for the review. I have that in my pile of books to be read.

Anonymous said...

Below is a quote from your review. Did you mean to say James were you reference her [Georgia's]relationship with Darwin [was this to be James?]

"I found myself rooting for Georgia, and for her relationship with Darwin, the man who left her pregnant twelve years ago"

Alison's Book Marks said...

@Anonymous - it's highly possible that I made an error when naming Darwin instead of James, but it's been so long since I read the book, I just can't be sure. Sorry!

I hope you enjoyed the book, and thanks for stopping by!

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