The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

December 29, 2009

fridaynightknitting Plot summary (with spoilers): Georgia Walker is the proud, independent 40-something woman who owns Walker & Daughter, a successful knitting supplies boutique in Manhattan. Georgia’s background is revealed slowly over the course of the novel, and the reader eventually learns about her failed relationship with James Foster over a decade ago. Georgia truly loved James, but he had a wandering eye and a fear of commitment, which prompted him to suddenly dump her. Little did either of them know that Georgia was pregnant at the time.

Georgia tried contacting James to give him the option of participating in the baby’s life, but he never got back to her. So Georgia and daughter Dakota were left to their own devices. Fortunately, Georgia was highly skilled at knitting, and after saving up money from her part-time deli job and getting a loan from friend Anita, she was able to open Walker & Daughter.

Part of the boutique’s charm is the Friday Night Knitting Club, which consists of a small group of women who meet regularly to work on knitting projects, discuss life’s problems, and support each other with their friendship. The regulars include Darwin, KC, Lucy, and, eventually Cat, an old high school friend of Georgia’s who desperately wants to reconnect. They all have their own issues, but draw strength and encouragement from the club. The store might have financial problems that leave Georgia wondering if she can afford this month’s rent or business insurance premiums, but the club somehow makes everything better.

The novel mostly shows the interactions between the women, with most of the focus staying on Georgia. James reenters the picture, which causes some angst, and Georgia later receives some devastating news about her health. In the end, however, almost everything works out.

Liked:

  • I liked the general idea of a knitting club. I’m not into knitting at all, but I’d heard that this was a decent book about friendship, so I decided to give it a try. The club was a neat idea, and I liked how the women really had a chance to bond with each other.
  • My favorite storyline of all was the one about Georgia and Cat. I lost my high school best friend after a tiff in college, and have never quite gotten over the pain from that loss. I would do anything in my power to resurrect the friendship if I had a chance — even to the extent of ordering $15,000 worth of knitwear like Cat did.
  • I liked that each of the women in the club had their own things going on and that they weren’t merely there to prop up the Georgia stuff. That helped me see them as solid characters rather than as cardboard cutouts.

Disliked:

  • Well, I have to say the ending was a bit of a disappointment. It was way too melodramatic to have everyone’s problems work out — except Georgia’s. I usually don’t mind when the main character dies because sometimes that happens in life as well. But Georgia’s death just seemed like a plot device to make the whole story more “poignant” or something.
  • I wasn’t all that impressed by Kate Jacobs’ writing. There were few transitions, so the focus would suddenly switch from one character’s problems to another, and chapters often ended very abruptly. It was kind of annoying to have this happen throughout the book.

Rating:

I thought The Friday Night Knitting Club was a decent read. I liked the friendship aspects of the novel, but could have done without the romance angle or the melodramatic ending. I’ve heard that this is the first in a series, but I don’t think I’ll be reaching for the sequel(s). I give this book 3 stars out of 5.

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