I too am a novice and had a really hard time knitting until I discovered bamboo needles. They are more expensive but they definately are great for the Knitter Wannabes.
Yarn slides on metal needles which is good if you are a fast knitter because it makes the knitting go much faster (so I am told). Yarn sliding with the novice means that before you know it your work has slipped at least partially off the needles. Putting it back on is not fun and takes way too much time.
Having knit with both I really like and recommend you start with bamboo needles. I get them at Joann's, Hancock's, etc. You can also get them at your LYS or online. Hope that you see this before you go shopping.