Tag Archives: Beth Pattillo

The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society – Review

As head librarian of the Sweetgum Public Library, Eugenie won’t stand to see one of her library’s knitting books defiled by wayward, thirteen year old Hannah Simmons. As a form of “punishment”, Eugenie tells Hannah that she must pay for the damages by helping out at the library once a week, as well as joining the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society, which meets once a month at the Sweetgum Church to discuss books and knitting. Hannah’s entry into the reading group causes a bit of upheaval, especially when the original reading list is tossed out and replaced with childhood favorites such as Pollyanna, Heidi and A Little Princess. Hannah’s silent and sulky entry into the lives of women generations older than year reveals that there is more than meets the eye in the sleepy town of Sweetgum.

Beth Pattillo, author of Jane Austen Ruined My Life, is a very charismatic author, and I think she has a real talent for description and creating a comfortable pace with her stories. That being said, I felt that this book was too Hallmark-esque for me. It was very sweet, and very superficial. The novel starts out with a completely fascinating character of Hannah, a child of a neglectful teen mother who lives in a trailer and lives in constant fear of her mother’s current slimey boyfriend. Other than this introduction to Hannah, she virtually disapears from the book despite Eugenie’s attempts to take her under her wing. I would have enjoyed seeing the development of their relationship, as Eugenie did have a powerful and good influence on Hannah, but we never see it develop. It seems like the person that Hannah forms the best bond with in the Knit Lit Society is not the person she calls for help later on in the novel.  Except for Camille, the other characters are self-absorbed with selfish and petty complaints and issues that seem so trivial compared to Hannah’s plight.

Although this book is Christian Fiction, it is not preachy, and in fact, Patillo goes out of her way to say whenever possible that Eugenie does not attend church, and obstinantely refuses to go, although its never really clear why she avoids it like the plague. All the women carry a secret with them, and somehow their lives are all intertwined in a very clever and intricate manner. I would have enjoyed some more drama in this book, I felt that too much was just swept under the rug and not explored.

This book is probably a good beach read, if you want something dramatic but upbeat at the same time.

The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society
by Beth Patillo
WaterBrook Press, 2008
ISBN 1400073948
335 pages

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Find this book at your local library

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Get Glue Winner + Giveaway!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Get Glue Decewy Decimal Challenge last month! Through a random name-picking-out-of-a-hat, the winner of February’s giveaway is Eva from A Striped Armchair!!.

Congrats!

But don’t despair. I have another prize this month! But this is one more general. I’m giving away an extra copy of Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo. Just leave me a comment with your favorite Jane Austen book and why. Double points if you link to this giveaway on your blog, Triple points if you also include a review for the Dewey Decimal Challenge. I’ll name a winner at the end of the month (April 1st).

Jane Austen Ruined My Life

Jane Austen Ruined My Life – Review

When I was first offered this book to review, this thought ran through my mind: I like Jane Austen, whose life did she ruin and why?

This wonderful novel by Beth Pattillo did a good job answering my question.

Jane Austen Ruined My LifeThe novel starts with the main character, Emma Grant, on a plane trip to England, set to destroy Jane Austen’s reputation through a set of undiscovered letters written by Jane Austen. The reason behind Emma’s determination? Emma was a University Professor and a Jane Austen scholar who found her husband and her teaching assistant having sex on the kitchen table. The TA later accused Emma of plagerizing one of her papers and the husband, Edward, backed up the TA, leading to Emma’s dismissal from her position. Without a home, a husband and a job, Emma blames Jane Austen’s promise of “happily ever after” after marriage for the end of her marriage and professional career.

In London, Emma stay’s at her cousin’s house, and wouldn’t you know it, her ex-boyfriend is staying there too, also invited by the cousin, who happens to be in Paris. Emma sets out to meet an elderly women named Mrs. Parrot who puts Emma through a series of tasks, each task is rewarded with one or two of the coveted letters. Mrs. Parrots holds the proverbial carrot over Emma with these letters, as they are an undocumented set, protected a secret society known as The Formidables. If Emma can acquire these letters, authenticate their history, they will be the vessel that places her back in the good graces of academia. While Emma’s plan seems sure-fire, she is not prepared for the emotional attachment and revelations that spring from these letters as well as the tasks she sets out to do. While on this secret missions, Emma learns more about Jane Austen’s life and love, as well as her own. Emma takes an introspective look into her life coming to mini realizations about herself and her relationship with Edward.

This book is well written and very funny. I started reading it before work, and had to very reluctantly put it down. The book was never too corny, it has just the right amount of wit, I had myself half hoping that iwas all based on a true-story at one point. Pattillo has a great admiration of Jane Austen, and while this is still “chick-lit” its intelligent chick-lit with a surprising ending, but an ending that I readily approved of. This book makes me want to fly out to England and scout out all the notable Jane Austen landmarks. Now that I’ve read almost all but one Jane Austen book, I felt that I could appreciate books about Jane Austen and her career more.

FINAL GRADE: A

Jane Austen Ruined My Life
by Beth Pattillo
Guideposts, 2009
ISBN 0824947712
265 pages
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