Casting Off

I'm not sure how Nicole Dickson's Casting Off made it onto my request list. I'm going to guess that someone blogged about it and my brain went, "Knitting book! Shiny! Must have!"

I get a lot of books that way.

Casting Off follows Rebecca as she travels to a tiny Irish island with her daughter Rowan to research a book about the knitted ganseys the island is known for. Rebecca's best friend from college grew up on the island and going there is a bit like going home, something that Rebecca has been without for too long. She goes from place to place, never wanting to feel confined or trapped. She sees moving about as the ultimate freedom after having been in a relationship with a controlling man. But as Rowan gets older she starts to question if she could keep moving. She needs to figure out how to settle down.

Casting Off is one of those books where you know there was a Big Event that happened somewhere in the main characters past. It's one of those formative events that shapes the person that you are. In Rebecca's case it's what makes her earn for freedom for herself while being totally overprotective and emotionally smothering her daughter. The author drops hints and makes enough references that you have a pretty decent idea of what happened, and of course everyone on the island knows what happens and they make hints about it too. It gets a tad irritating because it kind of feels like the author is dragging it out (for which they clearly have a purpose but still) while you just want to tell at them to get on with it and tell you already.

Rowan starts making friends, most notably the island grouch Sean Morahan. He's really a miserable old man, who carries around the guilt of the loss of his family and the knowledge that he could have been a different kind of man and father. He speaks to no one except to growl at them.He meets his match when he takes a shot at Rowan on her first night in the village. He certainly did not expect to be sassed back by a 6-year old, even if he did deserve it.

Casting Off probably won't make my list of favourite reads for the year but it did accomplish two things. One, it made me really interested in ganseys. Secondly, it felt positively decadent to lounge in bed one evening during the middle of buying a house stress and just read. And yes, I'll admit that I bawled toward the end. I blame the stress.