Ten summers ago, I was bored out of my mind. School had let out and all I had planned was summer reading and vegging out in front of the TV while knitting. And then I came across it, a magical treasure, one of eight incredible summer reads I delved into that sticky season: The Friday Night Knitting Club, a beautiful touching novel by Kate Jacobs. I vaguely remember not finishing it, but then I rediscovered it one day at the library nearly a decade later, and thought, “I need to finish this book.” So I read it, and I’m pretty sure I shed more than a tear or two. Set in modern-day New York City, it narrates the lives of a group of women who all meet on a Friday evening in Georgia Walker’s yarn shop called Walker and Daughter. In the first book, Dakota, Georgia’s daughter, is thrilled to be around so many incredible women and learn from their lives as they knit afghans, scarves, hats and other things.
While I can’t remember much in detail about the characters’ backgrounds in the first book, I remember enough to know how they develop in the sequel. At the end of the first novel, Georgia dies of ovarian cancer, and in the second, Peri, one of the members of the knitting club, takes over the shop and renovates it. She wants Dakota to take more responsibility for the shop, but Dakota is now eighteen and has other interests, namely attending college at New York University and getting a cute guy at school to notice her. Anita, an elderly woman, is trying to find love after the death of her husband, Catherine is not sure she’ll ever find a man who loves her truly for her after her divorce, Lucie is searching for the father of her newborn daughter, Ginger, not only raising her but also taking care of her mother. Not to mention Darwin is now a new mom with twins and KC is struggling with her career. Like the first book, each character has their own struggles they deal with, but nevertheless, they stick it out and support each other, especially because they want to honor the incredible life that Georgia left them through the shop.
At first, I started the novel but thought I would need to read the first again just to get into the beginning. I read the book rather a long time ago, so it took me a while to catch up to the characters, but once I remembered the plot line from the first novel, I once again devoured it like the most delicious piece of (vegan) chocolate cake ever in the entire world. This book almost got me a little choked up because these young women support each other even through the rough times. I love to knit but have only been knitting by myself for the longest time, and reading The Friday Night Knitting Club helped me understand how I really need to find other people to knit with. I like knitting alone, it’s just that it’s fun to do with friends, too. Once again, I can’t thank Kate Jacobs enough for another excellent read. This book reminds us knitters that the things we make carry our personal stories with them, and that our projects as knitters can help us connect to one another even at the times we feel alone.
Back in 2006 or 2007, around that time, they said Julia Roberts was going to star in a movie adaptation of The Friday Night Knitting Club. Fast forward ten years later, and I’m still crossing my fingers hoping they live up to their promise. And maybe it’s for the best; sometimes when people make movies from books, they have to leave a lot out, not just for time constraints but also probably for copyright policy. And I have no doubt that Julia Roberts is working on other great projects right now, but even if she didn’t play in the movie, they could have another actress play in the film. I am still (more than a little) sad that no movie has come out yet, but oh well. Maybe someday. I guess I’ll just keep crossing my fingers and praying for a movie adaptation.
Knit Two: A Friday Night Knitting Club Novel. Kate Jacobs. 326 pp. 2008.