“Mum and Dad are at it again. They’re doing that thing where they make food-based double entendres all the time, thinking it goes over our heads. It goes over Molly’s head, she’d only six and she never listening to mum and dad anyway. I guess it used to go over my head too, when I was little. But I’m older now, and more sophisticated. I know what they’re up to and it makes me want to vomit.”
Ben got into a bit of trouble involving a lollipop lady and a stolen bottle of Martini Rosso, and now he’s on probation. Not only that but he has to take up a bobbie and Give Something Back to the crazy old lollipop lady who wants to kill him. Things aren’t looking good for Ben and when the list of ‘hobbies’ he can take up comes through they start looking worse. He can spend another hour with his dad, pretending to like cars and learning how to fix them up (something his dad makes him do on a saturday anyway), he can do pottery with the very sexy mother of his crush, or he can do knitting with his fit teacher from school. Ben takes the best of a bad bunch; knitting, but soon finds out there has been a mix up; its Mrs Hooper, mother of his crush, who takes the class and now he has to hope no one else finds out about the hobby, keep up the lies to his dad and try not to let Mrs Hooper know about his feelings for her daughter. Chuck in the battle-axe Mrs Frensham and the fact that Ben is really good, and enjoys, knitting you get a hilarious sequence of events which will keep you reading.
Boys Don’t Knit sounded like a perfect read for me. I love contemporary humour books and its comparisons to Adrian Mole and the Inbetweeners had me thinking it would be a great story before I even picked it up. My thoughts were right, it was a good story but whilst I enjoyed reading it, I also thought it was a little lacking in some places unfortunately.
The story was interesting and very funny in places. I liked it at the beginning a lot and liked where it could have gone, but I’m not sure it really did. The idea of a teenage boy being put on probation and having to do these things was great and I liked how that was set out. I think it gives a great insight to the world of being a boy and having to do these things, but I don’t think it gave a true one. The knitting thing was brilliant but in my mind Ben took to it far too easily and had a complete switchover in personality once he started it. The book is written in a diary style format, which is one I adore, so that was one of the things I really did like about it.
I think my major issues with the book came from the main character himself. I felt a bit indifferent to him and didn’t really click. It was kinda like the purpose of his character was to defer from the stereotype of a 16/17 male protagonist but it didn’t seem right for some reason. Ben seemed different from your average teenage boy already, especially in contrast to his friends, but when the knitting started he seemed to actually go more boy-y to me, in the hiding it and being a bit odd about things way. Other characters we come across in the book are great like his parents and I really did like Mrs Frensham once I got to know her but some just didn’t seem believable, like his teacher and her boyfriend.
I don’t want to say I hate this book because I didn’t, and I really don’t want to focus on the negatives. I enjoyed the humour that was there and I thought that some of it was funny in its ridiculousness, some aspects of the story were brilliant and even though parts of it were predictable as hell I still enjoyed seeing them come to light. I honestly think that this is a male protagonist book that won’t appeal to the male audience as much though unfortunately, but maybe, in my position as a 20 something female, I am wrong with that assumption. I look forward to seeing reviews that indicate I am.
Boys Don’t Knit was published on Jan 2nd by Hot Key Books. My copy was sent to me from the publisher and lovereading.co.uk in exchange for an honest review.
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