Saturday, February 03, 2024

Bliss Adair and the First Rule of Knitting, by Jean Mills

The first rule of knitting is "don't look too far ahead" and for Bliss that has been as good of a rule for life as any.  Keeping her head down and letting things happen as they will won't make her a hero but it keeps her out of a lot of trouble.  

So, she plays thing safe.  She has a crush on Taz Fenwick's "perfect proportions" that seems unlikely to ever be consummated, which is just as well since she's still a bit afraid of boys. She has a small group of friends. She helps her parents out at the family's yarn shop, helping people fix their knitting mistakes.  Her two loves --  math and knitting -- provide comforting boundaries.

Two things shake up that comfortable world.  First, the arrival of the pregnant girl (the granddaughter of a customer) challenges Bliss to accept that some problems are out of her league. But it is accidentally eavesdropping of a conversation between a classmate's mother and her lover that presents a quandary for Bliss.  Should she tell her friend about the infidelity or is it kinder to mind her own business?  And do the rules change when the friend becomes a romantic interest?

Interspersed with lots of knitting references, this novel gently explores Bliss's growing awareness of life's imperfections.  At times perhaps unrealistically mature, Bliss still has enough room for growth to teach the us a few things.  The positive supportive atmosphere of the story and the realistically unresolved ending leaves the reader a satisfactory conclusion.

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