About 7 years ago, I discovered knitting , and since then, I love reading about it. Usually, books about knitting tend to be picture books, so when we received a young adult novel titled Boys Don’t Knit, I knew I had to read it. I was excited to see a book for teens about a boy discovering knitting, not only because of the knitting connection, but also because I love finding new and unexpected books that appeal to boys – and this one certainly does!
Boys Don’t Knit by T.S. Easton is about Ben, a seventeen year old who was caught stealing liquor from a store and has been placed on probation and given certain mandatory acts to fulfill. The first is to keep a journal, which annoyed him to no end as he has been keeping a diary (as he calls it) for years. Then, he must also help out around the house of the woman who was injured during his attempted theft. And finally, he has to take part in some sort of after-school activity so that he develops a sense of community. His choices being rather limited, he decides to take a knitting class. And so begins a rather funny and heartwarming story of a young man’s adventures in knitting, bullying and romance!
There are so many reasons that this book was a hit for me, including the great story, compelling characters and funny writing. I was sold on this book in the first few pages; with every passing sentence, I became convinced that Ben was a character I had to get to know better. From the embarrassment he feels over his parents’ affection for each other (which manifests in lame double entendres), to his logic-based fantasies about one of his teachers, Ben was a well-rounded character who kept making me laugh. I also found his sense of right and wrong quite compelling. The whole reason he got into trouble for stealing was because while his friends (masterminds behind the alcohol theft) were racing away from the scene of the crime with little regard for safety, Ben was biking away at a reasonable speed, and the crossing guard, angered by the behaviour of the other boys, ended up in a collision with Ben, who got blamed for the whole thing!
I loved that this novel was in first-person journal narration and that the main character was a seventeen-year-old boy; it’s not every day that you find a YA novel in this form told from a male perspective. Ben was funny, relateable, and in many ways, a typical teenage boy, struggling with fitting in, parental disapproval, and getting the girl (once he decides which girl he wants to get)! I loved that this typical teenage boy also fell for a hobby that is traditionally seen as feminine, although as knitting teacher Mrs Hooper informs the group, “Knitting was originally a male-only occupation.”
Give this gem of a YA a chance and you’re sure to fall for Ben Fletcher, “accidental criminal, liar and master of mohair.”