Discussion #1: Knit Two

So are you ready to chat about Knit Two, by Kate Jacobs? Let’s go ahead and open our first discussion on book #30 with these questions, hand-picked from Jacobs’ reader guide:

  • “The desire to keep everything as it had once been—to freeze time—remained very strong among the group of friends.” In what ways did the ladies of the Friday Night Knitting Club manage to keep things as they were? Have the changes made after Georgia’s death been a positive or a negative for the members of the club?
  • “Having children had never been a question when Anita was young; it was simply the expected order of things. Marriage meant babies and babies meant marriage. Still, it was nice that things were different [now]. Could be different. Anita believed in having options. On the other hand, sometimes it was hard to know which end was up these days.” Which part of being a single mother does Anita feel is “nice” and which makes things seem like “it was hard to know which end was up these days?” Is that a statement about the stigma of unwed motherhood? Or about the hectic pace of single mothers’ lives? Or both?
  • In her haze of exhaustion and stress, Lucie agonizes: “When was it going to make sense? When was she going to wake up and not feel tired? When was it going to feel all right?” Is she typical of women today? Is Lucie’s experience as a single mom more stressful than Anita’s, where “the expected order of things” made all the decisions for her?
  • Catherine always feels out of step with the other members of the club, and at one point reflects: “She wasn’t like the others. It was the one reason why she never really fit in. They were all quite…typical. And she, well, she was different.” Is she really? Why? What, if anything, makes the other members of the group “typical” compared to Catherine?
  • Lucie is forced to defend herself when her brother accuses her of being selfish and not seeing how much help her mother needs: “There’s no rule that a daughter has to do more than a son, and there’s sure as hell no rule that single people should give up their lives so married people get a break.” Is this true? Do you think Lucie’s brothers are being unreasonable? Is Lucie being punished for her life choices or simply being forced to acknowledge that she’s being pulled in different directions? How would you have reacted to that conversation?
  • Discussion of grief and loss runs through both Knit Two and The Friday Night Knitting Club. As Anita says “We grieve loss. It’s not always about death.” What are Anita, Dakota, Catherine, Darwin, Lucie and K.C. grieving for? Are the men of the book—James, Marty and Nathan—also experiencing grief or loss?

… or any other questions you care to discuss? Bring on your comments!

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6 Responses to Discussion #1: Knit Two

  1. I’ll go first – twist my arm! 😉

    * “The desire to keep everything as it had once been—to freeze time—remained very strong among the group of friends.” In what ways did the ladies of the Friday Night Knitting Club manage to keep things as they were? Have the changes made after Georgia’s death been a positive or a negative for the members of the club?
    The ladies continued (or at least attempted) to meet somewhat regularly at the store and kept friendships alive even after Georgia’s death – although, they acted similar to worker bees abandoned by the Queen Bee, left behind without clear direction on what to do next. Changes such as Peri’s remodeling project was met with mixed feelings amongst the friends, but the updates were necessary if she were to continue on with the business. Dakota’s teenage years seemed to have a strong affect on the group as she began searching for her identity while trying to grow into her skin. K.C.’s new career and subsequent smoking addiction placed additional stress on relationships, while Darwin’s new twin babies were a positive addition to liven up the Knitting Club family. Catherine & Anita’s bond with Dakota provided big sister & mom-type support she needed after the loss of her mother. These are just a few changes that jump out at me, and yet all in all, I have noticed that the dynamics are slowly helping the group accept Georgia’s death and move on with their lives.

    * “Having children had never been a question when Anita was young; it was simply the expected order of things. Marriage meant babies and babies meant marriage. Still, it was nice that things were different [now]. Could be different. Anita believed in having options. On the other hand, sometimes it was hard to know which end was up these days.” Which part of being a single mother does Anita feel is “nice” and which makes things seem like “it was hard to know which end was up these days?” Is that a statement about the stigma of unwed motherhood? Or about the hectic pace of single mothers’ lives? Or both?
    For Anita to become a single mother after her children are grown, the “nice” part is that she doesn’t face the same kind of stigma as unwed mothers do in raising young children alone – which doesn’t seem exactly fair. Perhaps that’s why she makes the “which end is up” comment. Because even married women raising children face the same hectic pace and exhaustion that comes with being a mother, so why should unwed mothers be looked upon differently?

    On the other hand, I also wonder if she is rethinking the whole concept of marriage and family. Such as with Marty now, they aren’t exactly considering marriage for the purpose of having children. And Lucie chose to have a baby without considering the possibility of marriage beforehand. So now perhaps Anita is realizing that her original thinking is not entirely correct anymore.

    * In her haze of exhaustion and stress, Lucie agonizes: “When was it going to make sense? When was she going to wake up and not feel tired? When was it going to feel all right?” Is she typical of women today? Is Lucie’s experience as a single mom more stressful than Anita’s, where “the expected order of things” made all the decisions for her?
    I do think Lucie’s experience is different from Anita’s, because Lucie is alone and in desperate need of help in getting through the day-to-day stress of raising a high maintenance child, while Anita is already done with that exhaustive experience. Had Lucie followed “the expected order of things”, she may not be quite so overburdened.

    * Catherine always feels out of step with the other members of the club, and at one point reflects: “She wasn’t like the others. It was the one reason why she never really fit in. They were all quite…typical. And she, well, she was different.” Is she really? Why? What, if anything, makes the other members of the group “typical” compared to Catherine?
    It almost seems like Catherine feels different because of the way she entered into the group, an old friend/traitor who came back into Georgia’s life unannounced. She didn’t see herself as one who needed the support of a close-knit group, where the rest of the ladies came off as being “needy” and with a genuine connection to one another. Suffice it to say, she is actually very much like the others despite her inward feeling of different-ness, which she seems to be realizing as the novel progresses.

    * Lucie is forced to defend herself when her brother accuses her of being selfish and not seeing how much help her mother needs: “There’s no rule that a daughter has to do more than a son, and there’s sure as hell no rule that single people should give up their lives so married people get a break.” Is this true? Do you think Lucie’s brothers are being unreasonable? Is Lucie being punished for her life choices or simply being forced to acknowledge that she’s being pulled in different directions? How would you have reacted to that conversation?
    Everyone has responsibilities, no matter if they are daughter/son, married/single. I don’t think her brothers are being unreasonable, just narrow-minded and oblivious to their own sister’s needs. However, she too is narrow-minded by not even noticing how much her brothers have been taking care of their mother while she’s been raising her own child.

    * Discussion of grief and loss runs through both Knit Two and The Friday Night Knitting Club. As Anita says “We grieve loss. It’s not always about death.” What are Anita, Dakota, Catherine, Darwin, Lucie and K.C. grieving for? Are the men of the book—James, Marty and Nathan—also experiencing grief or loss?
    Georgia had a powerful presence in everyone’s lives, to both the women and men equally. She brought them together, and their lives revolved around her. Then, just as suddenly as they all came together, she was gone – leaving them to try to make sense of it all. I think they’re mostly over the grief of losing their ringleader in Georgia and are now attempting to fill the emptiness of the loss. They seem to be finding direction, slowly but surely.

  2. maksbestfriend says:

    • “The desire to keep everything as it had once been—to freeze time—remained very strong among the group of friends.” In what ways did the ladies of the Friday Night Knitting Club manage to keep things as they were? Have the changes made after Georgia’s death been a positive or a negative for the members of the club?

    At the beginning I thought that they were positive, but I think that with Peri’s reaction to Dakota’s wanting to go to Italy to take care of Ginger shows her ugly side. I don’t know where she gets or got the idea that the shop would be hers to do with what she wanted. I thought that it was Georgia’s legacy for her daughter. I think that James is pushing his daughter to be something that her heart does not desire. I think that her true feelings have become known when she expresses her feelings about how her mother fell into the store when she was young and pregnant with her and that she wants so much more for herself, but she is feeling stifled by her father and what he thinks is her future.

    • “Having children had never been a question when Anita was young; it was simply the expected order of things. Marriage meant babies and babies meant marriage. Still, it was nice that things were different [now]. Could be different. Anita believed in having options. On the other hand, sometimes it was hard to know which end was up these days.” Which part of being a single mother does Anita feel is “nice” and which makes things seem like “it was hard to know which end was up these days?” Is that a statement about the stigma of unwed motherhood? Or about the hectic pace of single mothers’ lives? Or both?

    I think that for Anita, there aren’t the stigmatisms that are so thrown on single mothers now as there were in days past. Women can get pregnant with or without a man in their lives. But when you have a child there is always so much to do that the days run one into another and the responsibilities never end. Both I think.

    • In her haze of exhaustion and stress, Lucie agonizes: “When was it going to make sense? When was she going to wake up and not feel tired? When was it going to feel all right?” Is she typical of women today? Is Lucie’s experience as a single mom more stressful than Anita’s, where “the expected order of things” made all the decisions for her?

    I think that she is the typical woman of today, trying to do everything all the time and keep all the balls in the air, and no matter how much you try, is it really possible? I think that she went into having a child with a fantasy of what it would be like, not knowing the really hard work laid ahead for her. I don’t know if she had the fantasy of the man who impregnated her coming back into the picture like a white knight on a horse and doing what James did with Georgia and it being happily ever after. I wonder if she fully thought out all the ramifications, or she acted on impulse and is now left to deal with all the what ifs and consequences.

    • Catherine always feels out of step with the other members of the club, and at one point reflects: “She wasn’t like the others. It was the one reason why she never really fit in. They were all quite…typical. And she, well, she was different.” Is she really? Why? What, if anything, makes the other members of the group “typical” compared to Catherine?

    All of the other women have had relationships and have had children and have been friends for a long time. Catherine came into the picture in the last year of Georgia’s life and she has said that she feels like she is a hanger on in the group. I think that she learning that she anything but not welcomed into the group. She is a source of support for many members of the group in her own way, whether she has come to realize it yet or not.

    • Lucie is forced to defend herself when her brother accuses her of being selfish and not seeing how much help her mother needs: “There’s no rule that a daughter has to do more than a son, and there’s sure as hell no rule that single people should give up their lives so married people get a break.” Is this true? Do you think Lucie’s brothers are being unreasonable? Is Lucie being punished for her life choices or simply being forced to acknowledge that she’s being pulled in different directions? How would you have reacted to that conversation?

    I don’t think that it is Lucie’s brothers. I think that it is Mitch. I think that he is being a jealous, judgmental ass. I think that like he said, he is God and he is trying to write the rules for the entire family. Almost acting like the father figure. No one gave him the right to do that. I think that there should have been a family discussion, rather than him pulling the spark plug wires in the car. Life takes families in different directions. It happens every day. I think that the guilt trip is not going to work. Clearly she is going to Italy. He is going to have to come up with another way to find someone to care for his mother. I think that his expecting her to drop her life, because she is single is wrong. Communication, not verbal abuse would have gone a lot further in the realm of good will.

    • Discussion of grief and loss runs through both Knit Two and The Friday Night Knitting Club. As Anita says “We grieve loss. It’s not always about death.” What are Anita, Dakota, Catherine, Darwin, Lucie and K.C. grieving for? Are the men of the book—James, Marty and Nathan—also experiencing grief or loss?

    Anita is grieving her relationship with her children, and Stan and Sarah

    Dakota misses her mother

    Catherine misses that she has yet to have a relationship that works and have a child

    Darwin grieves that she doesn’t have a close relationship with her mother and worries about her mothering capabilities and being able to have it all

    Lucie grieves not having a male father figure in her daughters life

    KC grieves that she was a go getter and life has passed her by

    I think that James, Marty, and Nathan are all grieving for the opportunities that they never took. Or should I say the ones that they let slip by.

  3. @maksbestfriend – Great comments! How far are you into the book now? I’m up to ch 23 and hope to stay on the timeline schedule, but we can tweak it. LMK.

  4. maksbestfriend says:

    HI!

    Sorry for slowing up the discussion time on this book. I am up to chapter 19. I am taking a nap and typing if you can believe that, but when I wake up I am hoping to get up to speed. This book is finally picking up speed. It was slower going than the first book, I think. It could just be mew, but it sure does feel that way. Or the relationships are getting more fleshed out and that is making it more complicated and a slower read.

    Please don’t change it for me. I am catching up, I may be a few days behind, but I will keep up the rear! 😉

  5. @maksbestfriend – Currently at ch 26 and LOVING the direction this book is taking. You’ll know why… how I can hold back from finishing immediately is beyond me. Well, Valentine’s Day does have something to do with it. 😉

    As for the slowness in the beginning, I had the same problem. It just wasn’t the same as TFNKC. But yes, it’s picking up speed just like you mentioned. Keep me posted on your progress!

  6. @all – Finished the book today and loved the ending. Will begin working on Discussion #2. Stay posted!

    BTW: I found this book at Barnes & Noble yesterday and couldn’t resist – True Colors by Kristin Hannah. Any interest there?

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