Book Review: Casting Off

“Something truly beautiful can arise from a mistake.” — Casting Off

I had never heard of Casting Off or author Nicole R. Dickson prior to casually running across it one afternoon in the bookstore.

Can I just say — I like that Dickson and I have in common the middle initial “R” in our byline.

Ok, moving right along …

I was in the fiction shelves, in the “D” section, looking for last month’s book club selection, Something Missing by Matthew Dicks (review), when the title of Ms. Dickson’s book caught my attention.

Being a knitter and all, I recognized right away the term “casting off” as a knitting term — it’s what you do to finish your project.

“The act of tying one stitch to another at the end of a knitted work, which releases the work from the needle.”

The above is one of five definitions Dickson uses for “casting off.”

My favorite is this:

“An ending of one thing and the beginning of another.”

A story that centered around knitting as an analogy intrigued me. Yes, the book is partly about actual knitting; the people in the book knit, and have a rich history of knitting, which is why the main character, Rebecca, comes to them: to study their knitting practices. But in the process, the pasts of Rebecca and others are pulled out in such a way that they can’t be ignored any longer and they are too “cast off” like at the end of a knitted work.

“The dust of the past can be in my clothes, on my hair, covering my shoes, but it cannot be in my eyes or ears or mouth.”

Casting Off is entertaining at surface level. I think it will be of greater interest to those who knit than those who don’t. But if given the chance it has a much deeper meaning for all readers about the benefit and process of letting go of past hurts and starting the next thing — the next stitch — one thing, er stitch, at a time.

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