Ben’s on probation. It’s all because his friends wanted to steal booze from Waitrose and he was the look-out. But it all went horribly wrong and an incident with a lollypop lady, a stolen bottle of Martini Rosso and a Porsche lands otherwise do-gooder Ben on the wrong side of the law. To make amends he must complete some community service and attend a course at the local college. His options are limited but when he sees the teacher he fancies is running a knitting class, he swallows his pride and signs up. Just as long as no one finds out…

Boys Don’t Knit is a fun and delightful read of one boy’s discovery of knitting. And he’s bloody good at it, I was a bit jealous of his very quick progress. I’m still struggling with knitting in the round. Ben goes to great lengths to hide his secret, but very few people would guess; when he slams down his laptop it’s not to hide porn like his mum thinks, it’s because he’s looking at a knitting website. He nearly gets caught out reading a knitting magazine in the newsagents but recovers by pretending he’s using it to hide Loaded.

On a more serious note, it’s good to see a book highlighting the fact that gender stereotypes can be harmful to men and boys too. There is absolutely nothing wrong with men knitting (my boyfriend does it); it’s relaxing and creative. But poor Ben feels he needs to hide it in order to not be ridiculed or hated, not just from his school mates but also from his dad. Ben tries to talk about football in a clichéd way so that he’s got something to talk about with his dad, which reminded me of The IT Crowd episode where they pretend to be “real men” and end up involved in a bank robbery. There’s a theme here, be true to yourself or risk living a life of crime!

Do you have to leave room for boobs? How big should the boob-room be? Is ‘boob-room’ the correct technical term?

I did like his parents’ silly innuendo at the dinner table. It’s a humorous book but with Ben coming across as a serious sort of boy, who really doesn’t want to get into trouble. He regularly writes to his probation officer and is the last person you think would get into trouble for stealing. I guess that’s the one thing that lets the story down, it’s hard to grasp that Ben would have been put on probation at all, especially as the accident seemed to mostly be the lollypop lady’s fault!

I’ve never known knitting to be so edge of the seat as the grand finale either. There’s a sequel out now too which I will definitely be getting hold of.

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Also reviewed @ prettybooks | Queen of Contemporary

Book Source: Purchased