Friday, June 08, 2007

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off: The Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting

This book was not nearly as funny as her earlier endeavor, Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter, which I read and reviewed back in February. This one is supposed to be a travel book, where we travel to the Land of Knitting. It pales in comparison to other travel book parodies: the best of these are the Jet Lag series of travel books (more about these later). But writing a travel book parody wasn't exactly what Pearl-McPhee was setting out to do: the format is just a framing devise that allows her to write more about her favorite topic: knitting and knitters and why knitters "get" one another in a way that non-knitters do not (they speak the same language, enjoy the same customs, etc.; thus the knitter-land metaphor). I'm sure there are similar books out there for other sub-cultures that like to stick together, golfers maybe? (Anyone know of any golf-land books?)

I kept waiting for Casts Off to get as funny as The Secret Life (or as funny as the daily content delivered on Pearl-McPhee's blog) but it never did. It did, however, provide a strange sort of comfort as I read it at bedtime. Try as I might to go back to the two novels I've got going, I kept picking this up instead. Pearl-McPhee makes a strong case for the power of community and shared values of knitters everywhere, and I kept feeling like I wanted to be part of it.

But speaking of travel book parodies, has anyone else read and enjoyed the Jetlag Travel Guide series (written by the team of Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, and Rob Sitch) as much as my family has? I’ll write another post about them tomorrow.

(Book 23, 2007)


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