Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Knitting Under the Influence - Claire LaZebnik

Knitting Under the Influence
Claire LaZebnik
5 Spot

Chick Lit

Kathleen is a triplet. Not many people are aware of that, since her two sisters are identical twins, and she’s most definitely fraternal. The twins have made a fortune on TV and in movies. After college, Kathleen went to work for them. It was a good job; great money, not a lot of responsibility, always a cleaning crew or a catering team on call. Then it happened. During a party, Kathleen got drunk and spilled some family beans to a reporter about the twins’ real age, and that their father was essentially a deadbeat dad. Faced with her family’s wrath, Kathleen decides, at 27, to finally move out of the family home and fend for herself. She’s got little in the way of savings and even less in the way of real job experience, but a girl like Kathleen usually manages to make do.

Sari and Lucy, the other two members of the Sunday morning knitting circle, are having their own problems. Sari works with autistic kids as a behavior modification therapist. She’s stunned to learn that the father of her new patient is Jason Smith, the BMOC from high school. He’s also one of the guys who made life hellish for her autistic brother, Charlie. Jason doesn’t seem to remember any of this, though, and Sari refuses to take out the sins of the father on the helpless son. Lucy, a research scientist, is dating the gorgeous postdoc who supervises her project. Since she was a self-proclaimed fat girl in her youth, having a handsome and desirable boyfriend is a heady experience for her. But lately, she’s starting to really understand that beauty is only skin deep.

The three women share a strong and genuine bond of friendship, despite the differences in their lives. The unifying thread, to use a dreadful pun, is their knitting. Readers can chart the changes in the characters’ lives not only by what they say and think, but also by how their knitting attitudes change. One goes from being almost entirely self-centered and believing you should knit only for yourself, to becoming more open and aware, expending energy and creativity by knitting something for someone else. It may seem like a stretch, but knitters will understand the concept perfectly. As a knitter, I thoroughly enjoyed these scenes and talk of the latest projects. Even if you’ve never held a knitting needle (or never plan to) you’ll be able to instantly identify with the ups and downs of the friends’ lives. The author, a knitter with an autistic child, writes with great understanding about both subjects.

Rating: 8
September 2006
ISBN# 0-446-69795-8 (trade paperback)


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