General Ginger Knits

random thoughts on knitting and the universe

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

book review

Knitting: a novel by Anne Bartlett

Set in Australia this modern day story of loss and knitting appears on the surface to be one that would appeal to all audiences. The problem is that the style is too clipped to be enjoyable. The introduction of the three main characters stimulated my interest enough to keep reading this book even though I wanted to put it aside. The two women in the story have deep seated problems that the reader hopes will be heard and understood by the other. It is also hoped that these women will come to rely on each other and assist in overcoming whatever obstacle the other faces. The trouble is the terse manner of writing does little to bring these characters into a well developed world where I could care about them. I kept thinking that their character development would arrive on the next page but that really didn’t happen. I simply couldn’t find myself caring what happened to these women so I decided to return the book to the library even though I’d only read 83 of the 270 pages.

As far as knitting related content, one of the characters is a superb knitter and artist who knits for her own pleasure rather than the consumer driven world. She knits items because she wants to and then altruistically gives them away to the persons she perceives are in need of them. The word obsessive comes to mind here as she drags around three large, heavy bags containing, one can only suppose, expensive knitting gear. I wanted to like this book very much but just couldn’t do it. There are far too many other books out there to be explored and enjoyed to spend time on this one. If anyone else has read the book and wants to tell me what was in those bags I’d appreciate it.


Blogger Janice in GA said...

Thanks for the review! I'd seen this book in the bookstore, but hadn't read anything about it yet. It's a terrible thing when you realize you have to say those Eight Deadly Words:
I Don't Care What Happens to These Characters.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Vicki Knitorious said...

Warning: Spoiler ahead; please turn back if you are reading or intend to read this book. She is hauling around her mistakes in those bags! I agree that I didn't have warm fuzzies for any of the characters, but I did finish it. My reading is so disjointed lately that I probably didn't even notice half of what was wrong with the book...

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Bad Hippie said...

Martha carries around every knitting mistake she has ever made in those bags...which represents, to her, every mistake she has made with people during her life (specifically, with her dead husband).

The characters do develop when Martha is pushed to knit so furiously and fast for the other lady's exhibit that she becomes deathly ill and has a nervous breakdown. That's when she's able to get rid of her baggage (literally and figuratively) and when her new friend is able to actually cry and mourn for her husband. It takes a while to get there, but the book really does come full circle in the end.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Sharon said...

I requested this book from my library the other day. I'll give it a whirl, but I'm sorry to hear it isn't better-written. The world is still waiting for the great American knitting novel. :)

8:42 PM  

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