A bit reminiscent of Ann Hood's The Knitting Circle we are again introduced to a group of women who meet to knit and find that they've stitched strong bonds of friendship. What raises Jacobs's debut novel above the average women-support-women tale is the author's finely crafted prose and a sterling reading by Carrington MacDuffie.
A recording artist and spoken word performer, MacDffie vitalizes a disparate cast of characters from Georgia Walker, a single mom and owner of a yarn ship to daughter, Dakota, to Darwin Chiu, a militant feminist, to shop staffer Peri, to Anita, Georgia's stalwart friend and helper, and more. Her narration ably reflects the different ages, backgrounds, and personalities involved.
The Friday Night Knitting Club is a cozy, warm read peopled with characters we'd like to know. It's easy to lose oneself in the story and feel very much a part of the group, as we hear: "Without ever putting up one sign or announcing the creation of a knitting club, these women began regularly appearing in the evenings and, well, loitering. Chatting with each other, talking to Anita, gathering about the large round table in the center of the room, picking up where they had left things the week before. And then, one Friday last fall, it became official. Well, sort of.
Lucie, a striking woman with short, sandy-colored hair, who favored tortoiseshell glasses over her big, blue eyes and colorful, funky outfits, was an occasional shopper at Walker and Daughter. She came in every few months and was always working on the same piece, a thick cable knit sweater--a man's garment. There were a lot of these types who came in to the store, folks whose knitting ambitions were out of line with either their ability or with whatever mysterious comings and goings kept them from sitting down and getting the job done. "
And so it began. All seems to go smoothly until the reappearance of Dakota's dad who wants to move back into Georgia's life, and unexpected events in the other women's lives.
Jacobs is a deft storyteller and along with the laughter and tears she has surprises in store. The Friday Night Knitting club is an affectionate, engaging story of female friendship and will soon be found on the big screen starring Julia Roberts.
- Gail Cooke