Spinning Forward

spinning forwardMy first thought when I saw the cover for Terri Dulong's Spinning Forward was, "SQUISHY!" Does that yarn not just call out for you to squish it? I'm pretty sure it does. (Is it just me or does pink yarn always look extra squishy? And I don't even really like pink.) My second thought was, "Yay! New knitting novel!" I really wish I could tell you that I loved this novel, but I didn't.

First things first - Spinning Forward is the story of Sydney Webster. Recently widowed she finds out that her husband was a secret gambling-addict who mortgaged there house several times over and she suddenly finds herself not only alone, but alone, broke and without a home. A college friend convinces her to some stay with her in Cedar Key, Floria to put her life together. This involves a knitting store, a man, a community and a search for her biological parents.

Why didn't I like Spinning Forward? I did not like Sydney. I believe that a big part of why I didn't like her (and therefore the book) is tied to the writing. Sydney's transformation is rarely told as it's happening. For example, we know there's going to be a big scene between her and her daughter Monica.  We'll hear about it days after. We're not present and it made me feel detached. Time jumps around a lot as well. I felt like I was never let in and Sydney never really felt real to me.

It's not really a knitting book. It certainly looks like a knitting book but the knitting store and Sydney's spinning really have very little to do with it. I didn't get the impression that knitting was really an important thing for Sydney, that she had a true passion for it. It felt like a plot device and that it was knitting and spinning because they wanted a Friday Night Knitting Club type of book. It could have almost as easily been a flower shop. Or stained glass. Whatever. You get the idea.

Finally, everything just ties up too neatly. I know, it's happy middle-aged chick-lit and everything is supposed to tie up neatly. The problem is that I never worried that it wouldn't, and there was a pretty far fetched storyline that probably should have caused me to  wonder.

Ok, one more thing. There was a character (whom I actually like) named Saren Ghetti. Yes. Really. I really liked Saren but whenever I thought of his last name I got annoyed. The book just tried too hard. I'm sure that many people liked it. I'm sure it will make on quite a few bookclub lists - it even came with discussion questions.

When Denise read it she enjoyed it more than I did, largely due to the setting. I understand that. The setting was fantastic and the author's love for it clearly shone through. I loved the little bits of Cedar Key history. It made me want to visit and it made me miss the ocean. It was probably the best thing about the whole book.