The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater by Alanna Okun

The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater

The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater is a memoir about life truths learned through crafting.People who craft know things. They know how to transform piles of yarn into sweaters and scarves. They know that some items, like woolen bikini tops, are better left unknit. They know that making a hat for a newborn baby isn’t just about crafting something small but appreciating the beginnings of life, which sometimes helps make peace with the endings. The...

Details The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater

TitleThe Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater
Release DateMar 20th, 2018
PublisherFlatiron Books
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Writing, Essays, Crafts, Knitting, Art

Reviews The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater

  • Lisa Silverman
    Received the ARC in a Goodreads giveaway. Amusing in places, moving in places, but it never really wowed me, even as a knitter. Possibly because it felt more like a memoir than a collection of essays about crafting, though crafting is certainly the overarching theme. And it's the memoir of a millennial (though she claims early on to hate that word) who doesn't have a long or fascinating-enough life yet to fill a memoir.
  • Olive (abookolive)
    See my review on booktube:
  • Christine
    I received an advanced copy at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival, Miss Okun even inscribed it, "To Christine, Congrat on breaking the curse!" Dan was with me, carrying one of the 4 sweaters I'd knit him before we were married (it was too hot to wear it, but he's that loyal). We've been married 24 years.The book itself is a collection of essays, lists, and stories. I felt like I'd met her family and friends, mourned over her losses and cheered ...
  • Alissa
    I started listening to this book last month and somehow managed to not finish it until now and I’m so glad I found this collection of essays. Listening to the author read I was taken aback at how much I related to her. I shouldn’t have been given that this is a book telling stories about how crafting has been a huge part of her life. “Each stitch is a step forward” is not quite the final line, but pretty darn close. But it’s incredibly ...
  • Whitney
    It wasn't as good as I thought it would be. Too much anxiety, not enough knitting. I loved her descriptions of her relationship with her grandmother though.
  • Ronni
    Unsurprisingly, The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater is very Buzzfeedesque: it's often funny, sometimes thought-provoking, and also a bit all over the place. I liked it but wanted to like it more.My old roommate and I used to talk about how satisfying it is to just look at your knitting/crocheting. How proud you can feel to make something from nothing all on your own. How happy you can feel imagining its future. My roommate told me stories about le...
  • Hebah
    I will pretty much always pick up a book if it pertains to knitting. As a fan of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's knitting-centered writing, I was expecting a series of highly identifiable essays where I would see myself or something very similar reflected in the writing. I did find a good deal of that as someone whose crafts also make an apartment a home and who always has at least one project in any given bag.The thing of it is, though, that Pearl-McPh...
  • Regine O
    DNF. Made it through 1/4 of the book and there is just no substance to any of the stories. I would have preferred more knitting references and less whining about losing her boyfriends.
  • Sarah
    Even though I was excited for this book, I was nicely surprised. I seldom enjoy the pop culture memoirs that have proliferated these days (with all the footnotes, exclamation points, unfiltered inner-monologue-to-page transcriptions, and just, I don’t know, mannerisms in place of substance). However, these are thoughtful, well-written essays and it was unexpectedly wonderful to read about being a knitter – I didn’t realize this was an area ...
  • Becky
    Wonderfully put together collection of essays. Alanna is both a riot and harshly serious, simply well written.
  • Stephanie
    Alanna loves crafting. Like, she REALLY loves crafting so much that she wrote a book about it, so if you're not up for knitting talk then keep moving right along! I love hearing people talk about what they're passionate about, so I was all in for learning about public acts of crafting and "knitting prom" and why the second sock is the worst. She uses crafting, this common thread (haha) throughout her life, to get to the complicated things: friend...
  • Brandy
    This is not a light, fun look at knitting like I expected. It delves into knitting as therapy for anxiety and mental illness. It wasn't funny like I expected, but it definitely held my interest.
  • Susie
    This was everything I needed. It was a perfect companion for all the gift knitting I've been doing. So much of this book was #relatable.
  • Jennifer
    ::shrug:: This was okay. It didn't particularly amuse me or pull at my hearstrings. It also suffers as do many books or sitcoms with this type of "feel"; unless it's incredibly witty, I'm not drawn to stories about stereotypical affluent neurotic white women in the big city. This is more a memoir collection with each essay themed on a knitting-related metaphor rather than a collection of essays about knitting. My mismanaged expectations likely co...
  • Sahara
    Boy, I say this with affection, but what a slog. This felt like a love letter to the author's friends and family, as well as her way of processing a breakup. Which is fine, and I'm glad she wrote it, and I hope that said friends and family read it, but really the audience did not need to extend beyond these chosen few. The ties between crafting and her relationships felt forced, and there just wasn't enough going on for me to care. I'll go back t...
  • Melody
    This one was just painful for me to listen to, so I gave up around the halfway mark.Unlike Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s books, which tend to actually be about crafting, The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater seems to revolve around the author’s former boyfriends and unreasonably awesome friends. Her life stories are not interesting enough, nor is her writing entertaining enough, to keep me interested.
  • Alissa Roy
    Look at the cover of this book- doesn’t it make you want to read it? It’s so beautiful
  • Susan
    This short book of essays covers not just knitting but is a bit of a memoir too. The author is quite young so she doesn't have that much history to get into but her experiences with family, friends and boyfriends is fairly relatable and she is quite funny. I'm not a knitter or crafter but I do understand the satisfaction and peace that can be gained through creating something and sharing it with loved ones. I listened to the audiobook version whi...
  • Cait
    This was truly delightful and I think I want to buy a copy so I can have it forever
  • Jill
    Supremely heartfelt, a case both for examining your life more closely and picking up the ol' knitting needles.
  • Pamela
    Full disclosure: I am friends with Alanna! Maybe that is why I can hear her voice in every sentence of this collection, but I think you will too. It’s thoughtful, at times vulnerable, and incredibly relatable even for someone who’s never before touched a knitting needle. It made me want to make things too!
  • Rachel B
    I thought this was going to be a light, humorous read about crafting. One of those books you like just because you can relate.In reality, Okun wrote more of a reflective memoir (or tried to, anyway) than a collection of crafting essays, and her attempts at humor completely missed the mark for me. She went on and on about how she always has to be in a romantic relationship, and I just felt sad for her.This book also felt very "written," for lack o...
  • Carin
    I am not a knitter. I might start next year. I did once knit a very plain scarf that was too short, but I was flummoxed by connecting a new skein of yarn.Alanna is a knitter. In fact, she's a KNITTER, all caps. She knits forever and always and in every situation. She is in her twenties and moving to New York City and getting a new job and dating. And in these series of memoir-essays, she covers all of this, and knitting. And a few other crafts. H...
  • vanessa marcoux
    I listened to the audio version (while knitting!) and it had its moments, but overall I wasn't a fan of the author's casual and hyperbolic writing style. It reads more like a blog post or Buzzfeed article than proper essay writing. Her choice of topics beyond crafting just couldn't hold my attention.
  • Kathy
    I saw this recommended on twitter and I'm crafty too, so why not? It was fine. A typical sort of personal essay collection for the early twenties to early thirties female demographic. I think I've read too many so I've gotten cynical about the formula of it.
  • Anita
    I don't knit or craft but I really enjoyed this book. All the essays were entertaining, funny and relatable. I also liked how Alanna was open about mental illness.
  • ak
    Got an advanced copy of this and it’s lovely and comforting and funny and relatable. So so relatable.
  • Karrie
    I’ve been surrounded by crafters all my life and have revisited my own inklings of late, so I understand the authors reflections. I just found it more memoir less essay collection than I was expecting. No big revelations, some mild me too, but no new insights into lifelong crafting. Maybe pictures?