Chicks with Sticks (It’s a purl thing)
Ages 12 and up
Penguin, 2005, 0-525-47622-9
Scottie hates her life. Her favorite aunt Roz died not long ago, she cannot seem to sleep properly, her parents hardly notice she is there, and her best friend Amanda has defected to the super girly trust-fund Princess set. Alone and lonely a sleepless Scottie picks up some yarn and knitting needles that her Aunt Lucille gave her when they met sitting shivah for Aunt Roz. Before she quite knows what she is doing Scottie is knitting and not only is she knitting but she is actually enjoying herself. For the first time in ages Scottie feels relaxed and half way human.
When Scottie runs out of Aunt Lucille’s yarn she sets about trying to find a yarn store for she now recognizes that she needs her knitting. It gives her purpose and helps take her mind off her problems. Thus it is that Scottie discovers KnitWit, a warm and friendly place where she not only can buy knitting supplies but she can also go for lessons, help, and friendship. To her amazement Amanda turns up at KnitWit and soon she too is knitting.
Scottie and Amanda then acquire two new, and seemingly very unlikely, knitting companions. Tay likes to look and behave like a boy and Bella is the ultimate earth child complete with long skirts and daily yoga sessions. Together these four young teenagers learn how to knit and purl, how to be there for one another, and how to have the courage to be themselves even when it hurts to let others see who they are inside.
Of course the knitting and friendship road is full of dropped stitches and misunderstandings. More than anything Scottie wants the Chicks with Sticks to stay together for she does not know how she will manage without them. Over time she comes to see that knitting cannot cure all ills though it can help deal with them. Most importantly perhaps Scottie learns that she has to have faith in friendship and love.
There can be no doubt that this is a book which will truly speak to young women who are struggling with that timeless question: Who am I? Young women will see that they are not alone, that Chicks from all walks of life have problems trying to find their place in the world, even the popular ones who have lots of money and terrific looking figures. They may even be encouraged to pick up a pair of knitting needles and some yarn just to see what all the fuss is about and if they are really lucky they will discover a whole new world which will give them a wonderful means to develop their creativity and to find friendship.
Written is true teenage girl speak, this book is funny, poignant and insightful. Clearly the author has an excellent understanding of and sympathy for the young teenage woman.
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