After Tigger’s book club the other week, I got chatting to the children’s librarian. I happened to mention that I had been upstairs knitting while the kids had their club and she, rather enthusiastically, mentioned a couple of books she had read recently. She doesn’t knit but had really enjoyed them, recommended them, and then requested them for me on the spot. I’ve now read them. While they were both worth reading, one was definitely better than the other.
The Knitting Circle, by Ann Hood, is an amazing story of grief. I cried a lot while reading this book, but in a good way. The story was powerfully told. I did find the idea of a knitting circle composed solely of people who had suffered some major trauma to be somewhat of a stretch but one can grant the author a bit of poetic license. And I suppose some people do collect “broken” people, so it isn’t completely improbable. Once you get beyond that stretch, though, the various stories are interwoven really well. And the difficulty for someone suffering a major loss to empathise with others (at least during one stage of the grieving process) is related well in this set up. Whether you knit or not, this is an excellent book if you like emotional, character based novels. I intend to check out what else Hood has written.
The Friday Night Knitting Club was less interesting. I note in the author bio that this is a first novel and perhaps that accounts for some of my dissatisfaction. The strands of the story did not hold together as well. I generally like books that skip back and forth in time and from one character to another, but somehow the various parts didn’t connect well enough. The story revolves around a knitting shop owner and her friends/co-workers. I think there is maybe too much emphasis put on the knitting and not enough on the actual story. Lots of interesting relationships stories here about mother-daughter relationships, friendships, family, and love relationships, but bitty. It is worth a read. But if I had to choose between the two, I’d pick Hood over this one.