Saturday, February 21, 2009

Review: Knit Two by Kate Jacobs

When I saw that the sequel to Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs was coming out last fall, I was excited to read it. I remember enjoying reading FNKC and bonding with the characters. Now that I am getting back into reading after the move, I was able to read Knit Two.

The story starts off about five years after the ending of FNKC. Here's the summary: KNIT TWO returns to Walker and Daughter, the Manhattan knitting store founded by Georgia Walker and her young daughter, Dakota. Dakota is now an eighteen-year-old freshman at NYU, running the little yarn shop part-time with help from the members of the Friday Night Knitting Club.

Drawn together by the sense of family the club has created, the knitters rely on one another as they struggle with new challenges: for Catherine, finding love after divorce; for Darwin, the hope for a family; for Lucie, being both a single mom and a caregiver for her elderly mother; and for seventysomething Anita, a proposal of marriage from her sweetheart, Marty, that provokes the objections of her grown children.

As the club’s projects—an afghan, baby booties, a wedding coat—are pieced together, so is their understanding of the patterns underlying the stresses and joys of being mother, wife, daughter, and friend. Because it isn’t the difficulty of the garment that makes you a great knitter: it’s the care and attention you bring to the craft—as well as how you adapt to surprises.

Sounds yummy, right?

For me, it didn't quite do all that was promised in the description. Yes, the story was interesting. Yes, the characters all are fairly real, well-defined, doing normal things. Yes, there is some knitting (not that I am a knitter) and some bonding. Yes, I wanted to know how it all turned out. But it all was kind of meh.

I wasn't drawn into the story emotionally. I didn't feel what the characters were feeling. It was more just facts to me. When I read books like these - what I call women's group fiction - I want to BE a part of the group. I want to end the story all happy or sad. I want to be wishing those were my friends. Or that I have a tight group of 4, 6, 8 or whatever friends that do life together. (Yes, I have friends, good ones, but you know what I mean.)

With Knit Two, none of that happened for me. I don't have any great need to find out what happens next. I ended the book thinking 'So what?'. I was disappointed that I didn't feel it.

When I added this book to my LibraryThing library, I looked up Friday Night Knitting Club. I read it in 2007, pre-blog, so I don't have any thoughts written down. I gave it 4/5 stars, which surprised me. In my memory (which is definitely suspect, as we all know), I thoroughly enjoyed FNKC. I do distinctly remember crying and wanting to learn to knit. But apparently even the first book wasn't a top read for me.

I think I am in the minority of not absolutely loving this book. Here are other reviews: Dar at Peeking Between the Pages, Bookreporter, Jenn at Jenn's Bookshelf, A Circle of Books.

Rating: 3/5 stars


bermudaonion said...

Sorry to hear this was a disappointment for you.

Red lady-Bonnie said...

It's hard to follow FNKC. For me, with Knit Two, I really missed Georgia from FNKC. She was such a strong character and the glue that held the group together. I liked Knit Two a lot but if I had to choose, I would say FNKC was better.

Steph said...

I totally agree! What a disappointment...sigh. I have just started it and I wonder if it is worth reading!!! One of the major flaws was there were too many sentences with confusing construction that block clarity. (For an example, see the second sentence of chapter 1.) I am soooo glad others are feeling as I do. Enjoy your reading time.