Friday, June 13, 2008

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

I have stacks of books just waiting to be read, but instead I wasted the last two days reading Laura Viera Rigler’s Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict.

Considering my own Jane Austen addiction, it’s no surprise that I was initially attracted to the book. Courtney, the book’s heroine, is a modern woman from LA. One morning, not long after the disastrous end to her engagement, Courtney wakes up to find herself inhabiting another woman’s body: Jane Mansfield (snark snark) from regency England.

The premise is intriguing. How would an Austen enthusiast adjust to life two hundred years ago? How would she react to the strict social mores and bed pans?

Apparently, not well. For someone who claims to be a Janeite, Courtney knows very little about the time period. She is shocked to discover “proper” young women do not wear makeup, finds being escorted to dinner by a male partner “odd,” and is completely clueless about the rules of courtship. The latter is particularly perplexing since Austen novels are replete with romance.

Courtney is an unappealing heroine, both in her time and Austen’s. She lacks any sort of charisma or logic, at one point even lecturing Jane Austen herself about cinema. Huh?

Of course, Courtney isn’t really to blame but Rigler. Her writing is awkward and self-conscious. I found it difficult to get past the stilted words in order to fall into the story. She also adds inexplicable elements and leaves several loose ends in the book’s convoluted wrap up.

I love Jane Austen, and I wouldn’t mind experiencing time travel myself. However, Confessions is not the best means of enjoying either.


notaconnoisseur said...

Being a Jane Austen addict or purist, whichever you prefer, it doesn't sounds as if this is the book for me. Thanks for the review and saving me some time.

notaconnoisseur said...

Help! Help! Where is my editor when I need her! Please excuse the s in sounds.