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Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
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Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

Why I Recommend This Book

There’s something endearing about reading a book about women whose hearts are knitted together by knitting. (I couldn’t resist.) I liked this book because its focus on the importance of friendships and with such a diverse group of characters, there is sure to be someone you and members of your book club will relate to.

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Summary

Georgia Walker is a single mom, store owner of a small yarn shop in New York City. The love of knitting and the need for connection brings new and old friendships to her life through the Friday Night Knitting Club. What starts as a fun hang out turns into a lifeline for these women whose lives intertwine as they learn about love, friendships and themselves.


Quotes And Info About The Author

  • Kate Jacobs grew up near Vancouver, British Columbia but moved to New York City for schooling and her career and now resides in Southern California.
  • Jacobs began her career as a writer and editor for magazines the Redbook before she became a full-time fiction author.
  • The Friday Night Knitting Club was Jacob’s first novel. It was a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

“People often ask me ‘which character is you,’ and it’s hard to explain that none of them are me, but all of them are me, but none of them are me, and have that make any sense. Of all the characters, Darwin is most like me, but how I was 20 years ago when I was a teenager. My interpretation of feminism when I was a teen was to reject everything any domestically inclined woman had to teach me or tell me and simply focus on going to school, getting good grades, being professional I had this black and white certainty, but I’d never been out in the real world. My mother was still making meals for me.” (From an interview with blogcritics.org.)

Concerning the less-than-happy end to the book: “Unless something sad or tragic takes place, we don’t turn to our friends and say ‘you know what, you really mean a ton to me.’ We don’t say that. We just go on with our lives.” (From an interview with blogcritics.org)

“What I tried to do was reflect some of the real New York in the novel. It’s an amazing, energetic city that draws people from all parts of the U.S., from all parts of the world. And that meant it wouldn’t make sense to me if every character was the same – I didn’t want everyone to be like me, for example, a married white woman in her 30s – and so there are characters of different ethnicities, different religions, different races, different ages, and different socioeconomic groups. Dakota being biracial is part of that: Her mother, Georgia, is white, and her father, James, is African-American.” (From an interview with Canadian Living)

“The Friday Night Knitting Club is really a novel about friendship -– the power and importance of having a support network in our lives. There are individual friendships within the story but it’s very much looking at a group dynamic.” (From an interview with Canadian Living)

“The Friday Night Knitting Club is really a novel about friendship -– the power and importance of having a support network in our lives. There are individual friendships within the story but it’s very much looking at a group dynamic.” (From an interview with Canadian Living)

“One of Georgia’s challenges, in my opinion, is that she took her life experiences -– the betrayals –- and used them to justify pushing people away. It was a reasonable defense mechanism but it impacted the quality of her life. The character of Georgia is courageous and generous and warm-hearted but she’s not perfect; she’s judgmental and she’s stubborn, for example. Still, she is devoted to her daughter above all else and she builds a business to support her child while, almost unknowingly, building a community that ends up emotionally supporting many people. And yet by always holding herself at arm’s length, she is one of the last people to fully open herself up to this wonderful group of women.” (From an interview with Canadian Living)

“Knitting is a metaphor for life in The Friday Night Knitting Club because when you make a mistake in knitting, you can go back and rip it out and start again. It’s never too late to try and set something right in life, I think. Or at least to come to terms with what has happened, which is another form of setting something right.” (From an interview with Canadian Living)

Major Characters

  • Georgia Walker: Single Mom, owner of yarn and knitting shop “Walker and Daughter”
  • Dakota Walker: Georgia’s young teen daughter
  • Anita Lowenstein: Georgia’s friend and mentor, widow, works part-time in Georgia’s shop
  • Lucie Brennan: TV Producer, part of the knitting club
  • Darwin Chiu: Grad student of Women Studies, observes knitting club for her dissertation
  • Marty Popper: Owner of Deli below Georgia’s knitting shop
  • James Foster: Dakota’s father and Georgia’s past lover
  • Peri: Part-time worker at Georgia’s shop. Trendy and young. Wants to be a fashion designer.
  • KC Silverman: Worked with Georgia in the publishing industry. Part of the knitting club.
  • Cat (Cathy) Phillips: High school best friend of Georgia, but cut ties. Wealthy.

Book Club Discussion

  1. The role of friendships among women is one of the main themes in The Friday Night Knitting Club. Some friendships come quick and easy while others grow over time. Discuss and compare the different friendships in the book. (For example: Cat and Georgia, Anita and Georgia, Lucie and Darwin.) Was there anything about these different friendships that surprised you? Which friendships were on the same footing and which ones were leader vs. follower? How does that change the dynamic?
  2. Georgia has various relationships in the past that ended and left her brokenhearted. Do you think there are times when her defenses against new friendships or furthering a relationship seemed excessive?
  3. Those who hurt Georgia deeply from her past (James and Cat) come back into the picture giving her the option of forgiveness. If you were in Georgia’s shoes would you be able to forgive? Why or why not?
  4. Eventually, Darwin comes to love knitting and instead of writing her thesis as a criticism of knitting as a throwback to traditional patriarchy power, she focuses on the positive impact knitting has on the lives of modern women. In your opinion, which is the more feminist view?
  5. Georgia becomes defensive when James asserts that he has things concerning race that he needs to teach Dakota, which Georgia could never understand. Is Georgia justified in her anger considering James left before Dakota was born or is there some truth to his claim?
  6. Instead of allowing Dakota to go to Baltimore to meet James family, Georgia takes her to see her grandmother in Scotland. Do you agree with this decision?
  7. Georgia’s gran gives the advice: “People sometimes don’t do the right thing… You’re left deciding how you are going to react to what they offer. Because you can’t make them change.” (pg. 234) How do Cat and Georgia each accept this advice into their lives?
  8. If Georgia had open the letters James had sent her from France when she received them, how would have things been different or would have it made a difference?
  9. Georgia first tells her friends at the knitting club about her cancer before she tells her family. Why do you think she shares the news with her friends first?
  10. Out of the different characters in the knitting club, was there one in particular that you identified with the most? Was there one you felt yourself rooting for the most?

Quotes From The Book

Quote 1: “Knitting had done more than provide her with a living; it had soothed her soul through more struggles than she could count.” (pg. 11)

Quote 2: “Women do amazing, creative, wonderful things.” (pg. 47)

Quote 3: “And without even trying, she fell in love. Not with some guy who sent her an e-mail or posted a profile.

No, she’d found someone else.

Someone who’d always been around but to whom she’d never really given a second thought.

Herself.” (pg. 93)

Quote 4: “There’s always a better time than right now and there always will be. But right now is what we’ve got.” (pg. 138)

Quote 5: “Sometimes God answers a prayer you didn’t know you had.” (pg. 138)

Quote 6: “It is a beautiful gift, thought Anita, to have your mother be your dearest and best friend. It is quite another to try and be hers. Then you’d have to actually get to know her. As a real person.” (pg. 130)

Quote 7: “The thing is, that when you’re young, you always think you’ll meet all sorts of wonderful people, that drifting apart and losing friends is natural. You don’t worry, at first, about the friends you leave behind. But as you get older, it gets harder to build friendships. Too many defenses, too little opportunity. You get busy. And by the time you realize that you’ve lost the dearest best friend you’ve ever had, years have gone by and you’re mature enough to be embarrassed by your attitude and, frankly, by your arrogance.” (pg. 137)

Quote 8: “Georgia is filled with exactly the same kinds of conflicting emotions and insecurities we all are. You. Me,” said Anita, “The thing is, she loves herself in spite of it all.” (pg. 164)

Quote 9: “So this was it. You take a wrong step and you end up wearing yesterday’s underwear, sitting on the carpet trying to teach yourself how to knit. And even that doesn’t work. She never expected it to be so hard. Life.” (pg. 172)

Quote 10: “I don’t really look like you, though, Gran.”

“Ach, that’s only on the outside, little one.” (pg 218)

Quote 11: “But just so you know that we are, each one of us… held together by the invisible threads of our histories. And so yours is Scottish and American and African in some long-ago time and place. But these strings are all the good and all the bad that our families every experienced.  And when the world tries to pull you loose – and it will – there may be some stretch. But someone like you, with so much love holding her together, will never fall apart.” (pg. 229)

Quote 12: “Stress is not about the situation, my dear, it’s about the person. There’s some who can handle it and there’s some who can’t.” (pg. 233)

Quote 13: “Don’t confuse success with money… They are quite different.” (pg. 235)

Quote 14: “We don’t always get what we deserve,” she replied, patting James over his heart. “Sometimes we get more; sometimes we get less. At least we get something.” (pg. 322)

Additional Activities

It seems too obvious to even mention, but learn how to knit. You can get a starter knitting kit. If someone in your book club already knows how, have them teach the group, or here’s a beginners video to get you started:

Refreshments

Any type of bakery goods would fit, because of Dakota’s love to bake and the desire to sell her bakery goods. In here are some treats mentioned in the book that Dakota makes.

Spiced Carrot Muffins
Recipe for Spiced Carrot Muffins
Photo Credit: aheadofthyme.com
Iced Lemon Cake
Recipe for Iced Lemon Cake (This dessert was particularly important to Lucie in the book.)
Photo Credit: sallysbakingaddiction.com
Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies
Photo Credit: dashofsanity.com
Oatmeal, Blueberry and Orange Muffins
You can also make Dakota’s Oatmeal, Blueberry, and Orange Muffins. The recipe is in the back of the book or you can find it here.
Photo Credit: luluthebaker.com


janiWood