Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: Little Bee and The Friday Night Knitting Club

The Derby Square Bookstore in Salem closes this month, after 39 years of selling used books. This is a huge loss for our city. Nate and I made our last visit and came home with armfuls of books, including a couple I had been curious about for a while.


The first was Little Bee by Chris Cleave, which was originally published as The Other Hand in Britain. This is the story of Little Bee, a Nigerian asylum-seeker, and Sarah O'Rourke, a magazine editor. The two meet at a Nigerian beach during the oil conflict. Apart from being a commentary on asylum protocol and the treatment of refugees, it is also a study of human compassion and selflessness. It explores the concept of "how far would you go to save another person?" in a very extreme scenario.

I found this to be a good book, even if some portions were graphic and difficult to read. In the end though, after much build up, the ending was a bit sudden and underdeveloped. Did you read this book? What did you think?


The second book was The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. I felt like I inevitably needed to read it at some point, and for 75% off I couldn't pass it up.

The premise was cute and centered around the protagonist, who owns a yarn shop and makes custom hand-knit couture pieces, and her young daughter. The plot was a bit predictable but sweet. I wouldn't call this a great book, but it's a fun light read. The one element I really disliked was the overdone attempts at using knitting concepts as metaphors for life at the beginning of each major plot section.


If you've read it, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Have you read anything you loved recently? I'm always looking for recommendations!


  1. I got a copy of FNKC from Island Yarn in Waltham during the Greater Boston Crawl and read it on my anniversary trip to a lighthouse (having been before, I knew to bring a good book and a lot of knitting, since there is no electricity and only one board game on the island). I had hoped for more knitting, frankly. As you say, the story is sweet and simple, but not one of the books I'll likely pick up again in the future. Oh god, those "knitting metaphors." Barf. It entertained me while there was no dog to wrestle (he boards when we take out trip) and there are only so many times you can kayak around the island in October (once, in case you wondered), so for a light vacation read, it's good. But I think this year I'll bring something with a little more punch.

    1. Yes, the "metaphors" really are the worst part of the book. Did you read Knit Two, the sequel? I am sort of curious, but also feel like it might not be worth it.

  2. I have read FNKC, Knit Two, Knit the Season, and by other authors - The Sweethearts Knitting Club, Knit One, Kill Two, Needled to Death, Death by Cashmere and am about to start Patterns in the Sand...I'm also part of the way in to No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting. What I've come to realize throughout my knit-reading is that 99.6% of it is all fluff - purely guilty pleasures serving no other purpose than for pleasure reading, or snagging the patterns/recipes provided in the back of the books. Much like most Hollywood films that are in theaters, you have to take these books with a grain of salt, going in with the lowest of expectations - and you won't be disappointed - you may (on rare occasion) find yourself mildly entertained... No Idle Hands has been the meatiest thing I've read related to knitting, fascinating really, since I enjoy fiber arts history, though I think that a lot of regular readers would find it dry and difficult to work through - fiber of another kind! I would recommend book tasting from your local library prior to purchase...Try one, if you like it, get the second - nothing lost, nothing gained :-) Happy Reading!

    1. I don't really do a lot of fictional knitting-related books, I haven't heard of so many of the ones you mentioned! I am curious about No Idle Hands though, thanks for the suggestion.