I tried going into this book with an open mind since it’s not what I normally read but was recommended to me by someone whose taste I trust. But let me just say that while she also gave me the sequel, I’m not even opening that one. FYI, I’m going to spoil the shit out of this book, but you shouldn’t bother reading it anyway.
The Friday Night Knitting Club starts out well enough: Georgia Walker is a single mom in New York, raising her 12 year old daughter Dakota after her boyfriend cheated on her and moved to Paris when he found out she was pregnant. Georgia runs a knitting boutique, selling yarn and creating special orders. She is assisted by a rich Jewish lady named Anita who gave Georgia her start, and continues to work at her shop for no money because she’s old and rich and has nothing else to do. On Friday nights, a group of mismatched ladies (the pregnant TV producer, the Chinese-American grad student, the high powered exec who gets laid off) get together and yak and knit in her shop. Very cute, but non-offensive.
Then Georgia’s ex comes back into her life to steal her child away (and eventually win her back, even though Georgia’s hated him for 12 years but ok whatever). Then her ex best friend, who screwed her over in high school, shows up with a ton of money, wanting to commission a dress from Georgia (and eventually win her back, even though Georgia’s hated her for 16 years but ok whatever). Still blandly inoffensive.
The book goes off the rails at the two-thirds mark. Georgia’s ex wants to take the daughter to meet his parents. Georgia refuses. The daughter runs away to meet them anyway. Georgia finds her, then decides spur-of-the-moment (this woman is a single mother who runs a small business in New York city) to take her to Scotland to meet Georgia’s family. Like, this weekend. Cat (the ex-friend) ditches her rich husband and tags along. They go to Scotland, to meet Georgia’s Gran, who dispenses wisdom. The ex-boyfriend shows up. Everyone is in love and happy and all betrayals are forgotten.
Then the happy group returns to the U.S., Georgia gets ovarian cancer and dies. Seriously. In the last maybe 50 pages, diagnosis to death. This, after 200 pages of knitting patterns and their relation to life.
Don’t get me wrong, the book isn’t all bad. The rich Jewish woman, Anita, has a truly nice side story about being a widow still very in love with her deceased husband, but also finding love with the older gentleman who owns the bagel shop downstairs. And Georgia’s daughter, who is half-white, half-black, has some good conversations with Gran about family and identity and whatnot. But Georgia’s motivations and reasoning simply astounded me, then she dropped dead. The weird pacing, and the sudden reversals of people’s minds and opinions just made no sense to me. Skip it.