Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Boys Don't Knit by T.S. Easton

Ben Fletcher, 17, really wants to go to the party his crush Megan Hooper will be at.  Trouble is, it's for older kids and you need a bottle of booze to get him.  Under age and with no money, Ben and his friends Gex, Freddie and Joz decide to steal what they need.  But when Ben gets caught stealing a bottle of Martini Rosso and injuring a crossing guard in the process (a lollipop lady in England because of the sign she holds up), he ends up on probation.

Now, as part of that requires that he keep a daily journal, which he already does anyway, and that he gets involved in a "suitable extracurricular activity."   He is given a choice of classes at the community college, and thinking he is going to pottery with a teacher he likes, he discover too late that he has been registered for knitting, a class taught by Megan Hooper's mom.

After the first class, Ben decides to stay, but finds himself making up all kinds of stories so his dad and his friends don't find out.  It is something they might not be able to deal with very well, but Ben especially doesn't want his bullying tormenter, Lloyd Manning, to find out.

The third part of his probation is to give something back to the community and his probation officer decides it would be a good thing for him to help the widowed, elderly lollipop lady, Mrs. Frensham, doing some chores around her house.

Needless to say, this is a perfect set up for all kinds of more mayhem and misunderstandings, particularly when it turns out that Ben is not only learners to knit quickly and moves on to more difficult  pieces, but he also really enjoys doing it - finding it to be a very relaxing and helps take him away from his worries, of which he has many.

Before long, Ben is dropping into knitting stores to look and buy yarn and reading knitting magazines (you might remember that in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince it was revealed the Dumbledore was also quite fond of knitting pattern magazines)  As if liking to knit isn't enough, Ben discovers that he has a very competitive streak about it, so it is inevitable, then, that he should decide to enter the All-UK Knitting Championship regional heats.

Boys Don't Knit takes place over an eight month period, beginning in July and ending in February.   And becasue we are reading Ben's journal, the whole story is told through his journal enteries, in his very conversational tone, and we really get to know him.  It turns out that knitting not only gets Ben in touch with his feminine side, but over the course of eight months Ben learns a lot about himself and about the people around him, who are not always the kind of people we think they are.  In fact, I think knitting is a nice metaphor not only for the way Ben's story weaves together, but the way the events he describes 'knit' together a group of disperate people.

This is a fun book, definitly a book of today with its many current references to pop culture icons, and Ben is a very likable character.  And you have to admire him for sticking to a class he really didn't want to be in.  The book is a little British, but if you got throuh Harry Potter and all the other great books coming out of Britain these days, this will be not problem.  Boys Don't Knit is the first book in a series and I am curious to see the further adventures of Ben Fletcher and his wondrous knitting needles.

This book is recommended for readers age 13+
This book was an EARC received from NetGalley


  1. I'm putting this on my to-read list. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I wish there were more books that showed boys doing hand crafts. I remember, when I was a young person, being a little shocked to learn from an uncle who was a fighter pilot, that quite a few male fighter pilots are secret knitters, embroiderers, etc. He said it was relaxing after the high stress of the job, plus it had the added bonus of keeping their fingers and wrists nimble. (He produced beautiful embroidered pieces.)

    1. I've heard the same thing about men in stressful jobs, and interestingly Ben comments on how calming he finds knitting at the end of a stressful day.

      I have to admit I was surprised to see my dad pick up my knitting when I was learning how and start knitting away at it for a few minutes. He learned as a child during the war to make things for the soldiers and never forgot how to knit.

  2. Alex, I was immediately drawn to this title :) And I'll have you know, a zillion years ago when I waitressed at a small bar/restaurant, two bikers came in--the typical stereotype: big and brawny and leather/stud clad. Anyway, I would crochet during down time and these two guys were here just then. The bigger guy asked me if I could show him how to do it. I thought he was kidding, but he wasn't :) He learned quickly, too!
    :Donna @writersideup

    1. What a great story, Donna. I guess it proves you can't judge a book by it's cover. Thanks for sharing this.


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