Boys Don't Knit by T S Easton

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Boys Don't Knit by T S Easton

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Told in diary format from the point of view of a wonderful narrator, this is one of the funniest books in years. Massively recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: January 2014
Publisher: Hot Key Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1471401473

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Ben Fletcher is a pleasant and fairly quiet boy - so when the 17-year-old gets roped into taking part in the Great Trolley Robbery to grab some booze for a party, it's just his luck that he's the one who ends up getting assaulted by a lollipop lady and put on probation! Forced to keep a journal, give back to the victim of his crime, and take up an approved hobby, he reluctantly chooses knitting - only to find a real talent for it. Can he keep his new-found hobby a secret from his dad and his mates, get the girl of his dreams, and become a champion knitter?

I'd read a few reviews which said this was really funny, but these were clearly massive understatements. This is absolutely hilarious - thanks partly to the stunning voice of narrator Ben, and partly to the outstanding cast of characters. Everyone here - Ben himself, his parents, his school friends and the bullies who pick on them, the girl he fancies, the teachers, the old lady he helps as part of his probation, the rest of his knitting group, and so many more - are vividly realised and brilliant to read about. Perhaps even better are the relationships between them. Ben's home life isn't quite ideal - his parents constantly gross him out with double entendres and his mum is a stage musician who spends a fair bit of time on the road, while his dad is obsessed with things that Ben has no interest in and thinks Ben should be keener on football and cars. Despite this, the love his family has for each other shines through their issues and similarly, while his mates wind him up and get him into trouble, when it comes down to it they're really supportive. Ben is the stand-out, though. He's a fabulous narrator who it's very easy to sympathise with - especially when he gets roped into fiascos like the Great Trolley Robbery!

As well as the humour and superb characters, it's excellently plotted. The climatic knitting scene manages to be both staggeringly funny and suprisingly tense - not a way I'd imagined describing any scene involving knitting! Oh, one small warning - there's a fair bit of very strong language, and Ben is also editing a mate's 50 Shades of Graham book. Yes, that IS what it sounds like, although as you'd expect, it's never massively explicit. (It's also really, really funny. Myself and another book reviewer are desperately trying to persuade Tom he should write the full thing!)

Huge recommendation as a wonderful comedy. I can't wait for the sequel, An English Boy In New York!

For more hilarious books about teenage boys, Geekhood: Mission Improbable by Andy Robb and Swim the Fly by Don Calame are superb. The last book to make me laugh this much was another diary format one, this time from the point of view of a teen girl - Have a Little Faith by Candy Harper.

This review was kindly given to us by the ever-generous Ya Yeah Yeah

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