Review: The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

What the book is about: 

This fiction book is the story of an unlikely group of women coming together through a shared interest in knitting. Georgia Walker owns a yarn store in New York City, Walker and Daughter. Through a series of events, Georgia eventually begins what is termed ‘the Friday night knitting club’ and we spend the novel getting to know our cast of wonderful women characters, including Dakota, Georgia’s daughter; Anita, the store manager; Peri; Darwin; Lucie; and K.C.

As Georgia works through some of her own issues, we dive into the lives these other women and what begins as a hodge podge of people turns into a family who comes together in time of need and knits some beautiful pieces along the way.

A story about a group of women promises to hold laughs, fights, tears, joys, sorrows, and jealously and this book delivers all of that and more. Each character is delightful in her own way, even when you want to wring someone’s neck, and is fully developed. As we learn about the various backstories of each woman, we see how all of their experiences lead them to this one place at this one time for this purpose.

As with all good stories, there is heartbreak and sorrow mixed within the pages and the reactions of each woman to it ends up being the full realization of the heartbeat of this story. While it’s rather predictable, that doesn’t diminish the impact of the major event and the solidarity formed afterward.

What I liked: 

  • Fully developed characters who acted as expected. Even when I was mentally (or physically) yelling at the characters to do the right thing, I was certainly never surprised when they didn’t. I believed everyone’s actions when they happened.
  • The plot moved along nicely. This could certainly have been a novel that dragged along and got bogged down in the routine or the keeping up week after week, it wasn’t. The pace continued to move and action happened throughout the entire book.
  • It touched the felt need of many people – that desire for community and belonging. This is an unlikely group of women to be spending time together, but the end result is the kind of family and community and sisterhood that many people dream of having but aren’t sure where to start.
  • I loved the knitting thread throughout the book. As a knitter myself, I kept up perfectly with all the knitting references and wished for the kind of disposable income that would have allowed me to work with the various yarns talked about and to make some of the delectable items referenced. It was this book, actually, that gave me the courage to finally make my very first knitted sweater.

What I didn’t like:

  • At times, the story felt very cliched in its direction and movement. I never found myself surprised by directions or decisions or even by the major event of the book. It would have been nice to see something outside of that.
  • The women came together a little too easily for my liking as well. Perhaps my expectations of those who live in NYC are too far off, but it seemed they gelled a little too quickly. Maybe they were so desperate for connection that it fell into place so quickly.

Things to incorporate in your own writing:

  • A clear sense of scene and setting. I am not terribly familiar with NYC, but I was able to pull together a clear image of this store – inside and out – from the descriptions. I could feel the yarn along with the women and I could sense the camaraderie as it built.
  • Fully developed characters – the characters pulled the story all the way to the end. As far as action and movement, the plot could be considered dull and slow, but the story remained interesting all the way through because of the beautifully developed characters. I definitely want an Anita and a Lucie in my life.

How I came across the book:

A friend lent me this book along with a stack of other books. It was a surprise gem.

Overall thoughts and opinions:

As a whole, I really liked this book. The interplay of a hobby of mine, knitting, with another hobby of mine, reading, was really fun and delightful. The story starts out well and in a way that makes me want to continue reading. It began with the offer of promises in the story that were later fulfilled.

I did want to be more surprised by the plot, but it was very predictable throughout. As far as engaging me in the story, that was nice because I was constantly right with the story and never had to take a moment to re-orient myself into the story. However, as I said above, a little less predictability would have been nice.

The writing itself was delightful and engaging, easy to read and follow, which kept me turning pages. I found myself disappointed when the story was over even though the ending was very satisfactory and tied up the ends nicely. I received the sequel at the same time as this volume, so I knew there was a sequel and I could see where room was left open for one. It works completely as a standalone book, too.

For all of these reasons, I give Friday Night Knitting Club four stars.

 

Learn more about Kate Jacobs and Friday Night Knitting Club.

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