Monday, November 12, 2007

The Friday Night Knitting Club

I am on the road again, this time around the UK. I started in Birmingham, then went to Newcastle for a few days, then Liverpool and right now I'm in York. I am tired.

All this travelling is not brilliant for knitting (or blogging) but I am getting some reading done. I've just finished The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. It's currently being produced as a movie, starring Julia Roberts, to be released in 2008. Would you like to hear about it?

I'm afraid I can't give this the same glowing review that I gave Charmed Knits the other week. The best thing I can say about it is that it will easily translate into a movie. It actually feels like an idea for a movie that somehow got turned into a novel first, which was possibly a mistake. The movie is destined to be a weepie. A chick-flick weepie starring Julia Roberts. Does that tell you everything you need to know about the movie? It does me. Let's put it this way: I'll tune in when it eventually makes it on to the TV but I won't be rushing to the cinema. This is not Pedro Almodovar, not by a long chalk.

OK, so, the novel. It's about the emotional ups and downs of a bunch of women who congregate at a NYC LYS and make friends there, despite their individual differences. Everyone eventually either finds romance (yawn) or gets in touch with her true, inner self (double yawn). The writing is poor, I struggled to get through it and would have abandoned it half way through except I'd already planned to write about it here so I felt obliged to finish it. The dialogue is horribly unnatural and stilted, so let's hope a screenwriter can fix that before it hits the big screen. There are too many exclamation points. Kate Jacobs may feel it makes a sentence more exciting to stick an exclamation mark on the end! But I don't! See what I mean! The plot is full of unlikely events and inconsistent details that undermine the credibility of the story. I basically didn't believe it. When reading a novel, you want to believe in the characters and get lost in the plot. You don't want to feel like taking out the red pen and editing out the crap. Sorry, Kate.

Maybe we shouldn't blame Kate, but rather her editor. This is KJ's first novel and it feels like a first draft. With another 12 months of work it might have been better. Or maybe not. There's no substance to TFNKC at all, just a long, emotional wallow. It's a bit like one long episode of Friends but without the jokes.

One last thing: The Friday night knitting club. Really? Let's think about this practically for a moment. If you owned a yarn store and you wanted to start a knitting club, would you pick Friday night? Of course not, you'd have to be determined to make it fail. Friday and Saturday are the two nights of the week when people are almost certain to be doing something else. Particularly in Manhattan. It's exactly this kind of thing that renders the credibility of the novel shaky. To take another example, the owner of the LYS in the book has had her shop mentioned, briefly, once, in a magazine. Yet everyone she meets seems to have read it *and* remembered it. In real life, the more likely scenario would be that the woman would work her ass off getting her shop mentioned here and there and yet *no-one* she met would have read or remembered it. Earth to Kate Jacobs: we don't believe you.

Still tempted to buy it and read it? Don't say I didn't warn you. I'm giving it 2 out of 10. Published by Hodder, a complete waste of £6.99.


ContinentalCat said...

Thanks for the review, it was very funny! Glad to hear I'm not the only one who wants to get the red pencil out while reading a novel - poor editing, or no editing, seems to be the norm these days, but then again, lots of publisher have become factories that churn out printed paper.

Knit-knacker said...

Thanks for that - I was actually going to venture out today to buy a copy. Mmmm maybe I'll save the money for yarn instead ;o)