Saturday, 3 November 2007

A Book Review!

Book: Crazy Aunt Purl: Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair: The True-Life Misadventures of a 30-Something Who Learned to Knit When He Split (Paperback) Laurie Perry.

For the benefit of those who don't really follow online blog personalities, Crazy Aunt Purl is the moniker undergone by Laurie Perry. A Texican who migrated to California, she got married, invested her selfworth and mental wellbeing in her husband, only for him to split. In despair she started a blog to chart her new life and its progress as it were, and well, her blog just became great. She was nominated for Blog of the year in 2005/6.

In the world of knitting, Crazy Aunt Purl is rather like the yarn Harlot (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) in the sense that you go to her blog to garner a laugh and get the odd insight be it life or love (for knitting). No patterns there!

The difference is that The Yarn Harlot was born in the land of knitting; she knows the language, has the passport and changes the moods as well as dictating the trends. On the other hand, Crazy Aunt Purl is a new migrant, and her struggles with knitting and subsequent joy in the craft rather mirrors the snags and highs in her new life, post divorce.

If you've read her blog, you'll have an idea about the book: each chapter is like a blog entry, one subject debated at length in short bites. The book is divided into three sections, each showing desperation, a stumble and then recovery. There are patterns in the back, a bit quirky, nothing special (although I like the lace scarf and cap).

To be honest, I think her blog is much better than the book. The blog posts feel spontaneous, quirkier and a bit more complete. In contrast, the book seems to have been edited to the point of stiltedness. The stronger 'entries' in the books are those lifted from her blog (about 15 percent). In the blog, her speech candence comes out more, as well as that Southern sensiblity and sass. In the book... not so much.

If you're not a knitter, don't let it deter you from having a read. It could have been any hobby that gave the author focus and made her find herself, so to speak. There are a few good chapters that make you think, especially the one where the author enters into a relationship with someone and recognises that although he may not be the one, he made her feel special and worthy and notes that although its not love, it means something.

As someone who's gone through a similar patch regarding relationships, it's an important lesson to learn, and something I tell all the girls I meet.

Overall, I'd say relegate this on library loan, and read the blog instead. I can't sell this book on, because I inadvertently ruined it. :/'


JayJay said...

Hmm, I may have to check out her blog. Bloggers turned authors is becoming quite the thing now, isn't it?

cranberry said...

Yeah, that seems to be the way to go nowadays. If you can show that you have up to 5,000 unique 'hits' a day it means that you're supposed to have an already loyal audience.

But sometimes what's captured in the blog doesn't come across so well in the books. It's the same with Penelope Truck as well, I don't know why. I guess because the editing makes the outlay and the words a bit more formal and slightly stilted.

It's a pity, because one wanted to really like the book. I'll just pass it on to someone going through a divorce or something.