The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society by Beth Patillo

Take five women, skeins of yarn, and a few good books, and you have The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society. Eugenie, Camille, Merry. Ruth and Esther meet once a month at the Sweetgum Christian Church to discuss two of their passions, reading and knitting. Eugenie, the town librarian, coordinates the group, chooses the books and assigns a knitting project to go along the theme of each month’s reading.

Add Hannah, a surly 13-year old, whom Eugenie catches tearing up a library book–a library book which just happens to be about knitting. As her punishment, she is to help Eugenie at the Library and, to Hannah’s dismay, she is to go with Eugenie to the Knit Lit meetings. First viewing Hannah as an intruder and then as a challenge, the ladies find they can learn as much from a teen as she can from them. Her troubled life causes them to re-evaluate their own.

This is not an extraordinary story, but it is a good story, one that bears telling and re-telling. Ms. Pattillo has written of everyday life in small-town America, but the setting doesn’t matter so much; it could be here or there or anywhere. For this is all about the human condition: we all have problems and sorrows to deal with, just as we all have happiness and joys. It is when we are afforded the privilege of sharing another’s burden and cares that our own seem to come into perspective. This is the story of the Knit Lit ladies.

They met every week but knew very little of the private side of one another’s lives. When Hannah calls them to task for being phony, they are taken aback. Slowly they open up and find that their lives are enriched, their feelings deepen, and they are better able to see the blessings in their own corner of the world. Although their meetings are held in a church, this is not necessarily a story of religious faith. Some of the ladies are church-goers, some not. Essentially, this inspirational tale is about faith in one’s self and faith in one another. It is all about the necessity of belonging, and the importance of having a safe place to tell one’s story.

Beth Pattillo, a knitter since second grade, is a RITA award-winning author. Her earlier novel, Heavens to Betsy, won for Best Inspirational Romance Novel in 2006. She is an ordained minister with a Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt. She lives in Tennessee with her husband and two children.

I received a copy of this book for review from the author, publisher or publicist.

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