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The Jane Austen Book Club

3.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  52,667 Ratings  ·  3,527 Reviews
The Extraordinary New York Times Bestseller

In California's central valley, five women and one man join to discuss Jane Austen's novels. Over the six months they get together, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens. With her eye for the frailties of human behavior and her ear for the absurdities of social intercourse

Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 26th 2005 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published January 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 04, 2013 Laura rated it did not like it
Shelves: best-seller
I’m convinced the first thing Jane Austen is going to do on the Day of Resurrection is hire a lawyer and sue the philistines who have commandeered her name and characters. However, this book is beneath her notice. A more clichéd combination of unfulfilled women could hardly be conceived: a middle-aged woman who’s just been left by her husband; her lesbian daughter who falls easily and unhappily in love; a spinster who breeds dogs; a dissatisfied French teacher in an unhappy marriage; and finally ...more
Jun 22, 2007 Beth rated it did not like it
I really didn't get into the book. In fact, by about the middle of the book, I felt that the only reason "Jane Austen" shows up in the title--or the book--at all, was because the author knew people like Jane Austen, therefore will buy the book. The book really could've been about any author--Dickens, the Brontes, Hemmingway, Fitzgerald--with the same results. The ties to the Austen books, in my opinion, are tenuous at best. If the title and the book club were not tied to Jane Austen, the referen ...more
I picked this up because I enjoyed the movie version. I like the story: a modern-day book club that reads all of Jane Austen's novels, and the participants' lives become entangled and resemble some of Miss Austen's famous plots.

However, I thought Fowler's book was scattered and poorly written, and I couldn't finish it. I thought it was mediocre fan fiction.
Mar 19, 2015 Florencia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People that are in a dentist waiting room and have to choose between a 1995 magazine and this book
*DNF review alert. If you don't think they should exist, do not read this*

Jocelyn and Sylvia, two middle-aged women, one never married and the other crying rivers because she just got divorced; Bernadette, a sixty-seven year-old Liz Taylor; Prudie, a French teacher that shares her thoughts in French whether you speak it or not; Allegra, Sylvia's daughter, a thirty year-old lesbian who cannot get a happy relationship, and Grigg, a guy that... I don't know what to say about this choice. All these
The Extraordinary New York Times Bestseller
In California's central valley, five women and one man join to discuss Jane Austen's novels. Over the six months they get together, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens. With her eye for the frailties of human behavior and her ear for the absurdities of social intercourse, Karen Joy Fowler has never been wittier nor her characters more appealing. The result is a delicious dissection of mod
Mar 05, 2008 Katharine rated it liked it
Shelves: drama, austen
I can’t decide how successful this novel actually was, in storytelling. On the one hand, I genuinely liked all the characters. On the other hand, a good two-thirds of the book is spent in telling backstory. As a way to describe character and motivation, it’s an interesting technique, and kept my attention despite all the narration. On the other hand, there’s very little real-time interaction between the characters. Although what interaction there is, plays out beautifully and believably, it’s al ...more
Jun 30, 2007 Amanda rated it really liked it
I just finished The Jane Austen Book Club. So good. I'm craving Jane Austen now. I just want to go through each novel in order. I just might. I can't decide. I am a quite reliable multi-tasker...

If you love Jane Austen, I think you will really appreciate the book. Even if you don't love Jane Austen, I think you will appreciate the book and maybe come to appreciate Jane Austen more.

It was really good. Four Hello Kittys.

My favorite Jane Austen book is Pride and Prejudice. I heart Lizzy Bennet and
So disappointed. I wanted to like this but could never get into any of the characters or the stories they told. They are a mismatched bunch who all come together to read Jane Austin. Perhaps there should of been more Austin and less of these characters. Each book was suppose to relate or have particular meaning to one of the present day characters....or at least I think maybe that was the point? I really don't know as I never felt any type of flow. We learned odd stories of each characters past ...more
Sep 09, 2007 Laura rated it it was ok
I was perusing movie trailers on my Mac last weekend and saw a cute title/trailer called The Jane Austen Book Club. The end of trailer announced, "Based on the best selling novel, The Jane Austen Book Club." I thought it would be fun to check out the book since I almost never see a movie until I can watch it via Netflix.

I had hoped it would be a kind of "fun" read, especially since I am a Jane-ite. Unfortunately for me, it wasn't much fun. I actually found it a little tedious and the jumping aro
Dana Kenedy (Dana and the Books)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dawn Michelle
Aug 29, 2008 Dawn Michelle rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one, especially Jane Austen fans
Recommended to Dawn Michelle by: Saw it in a bookstore and bought it for the husband
This book was really a disappointment to me. After all the hype I thought this would be a really great book. And its not. Its an ok book, but not a great book.
If you are looking for a great book about friends and book clubs, then you should read "Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons: A Novel (by Lorna Landvik). That is so funny and sad and poignant and touching. Everything this book was not.
My husband is reading this book as well(He is a TRUE Jane Austen fan) and he asked me last night if ALL women
Kirsten *Dogs Welcome - People Tolerated"
Read as part of my challenge to read my way around the world.

I'd seen the movie a while back so I thought this book would more of the same. Was I surprised! The movie seemed to only have a passing familiarity with this book. There was so much more in this book. I especially liked the flashbacks of all the lives in the book.

The mystery author and the description of the riot at the girls reform school that has to be put down by the National Guard were espe
Sherwood Smith
Sep 17, 2014 Sherwood Smith added it
Shelves: fiction
I do love Fowler's work. But I have to say I found this book a disappointment.

The story concerns the members of a Jane Austen book club--five women and one man--who meet to discuss the books. The structure is thus roughly divided into six months, and each month one of the people leads the discussion while Fowler interweaves that person's life story into the discussion, often punctuated by quotes from Austen's books. The prose is good, with a few eye-blinks (My favorite line, from the Jocelyn sec
Feb 28, 2008 Chanda rated it it was amazing
I rate everything four or five stars. Probably because if I don't like a book, it somehow never gets finished. I'm usually reading four or five things at once, switching back and forth as different moods strike me, unless of course I get drawn deeply into a story and don't want to leave.

Such was the case here. I adored this book. It seemed like such a pat premise, but then was full of such depth, such a surprising understanding and interpretation of Austen (and Heinlein, Le Guin, the Bronte sist
Jul 16, 2008 Suzanne rated it did not like it
I bought this in a train station with the deliberate aim of reading a puff book. I was not expecting a masterpiece, but this was absolute crap. I kept reading on the off chance that it might improve– it did not. The only redeeming quality of this book is that it is a really fast read (since it's fluff).
Destinee Sutton
I've read the (very) negative reviews of this (there are many) and I have to say, I think a lot of people just didn't get this book. They wanted it to be plot-driven and fun (as so many Austen take-offs are), but this book is much more character-driven and contemplative. I learned a lot about Jane Austen from it (especially from the back matter) and it was a great way to continue to explore her work. It's also so gratifying for me to read about people who live for and through literature. The cha ...more
Oct 19, 2007 Blaire rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit
I kept looking for fairly literal parallels in each chapter between the book under review and the character with which it was associated. Not a very rewarding approach, although I did find some. Instead, I took this book as an implicit homage to Austen. A gently satirical portrayal of a group of characters bound partly, but not entirely, by a love of Austen's novels. It's all about character; not plot. Not that much actually happens during the course of the book. Nevertheless, we learn a lot abo ...more
Ana Maria Rînceanu
I like Jocelyn best, but, if I'm being honest, I'm more like Prudie than I care to admit sometimes.
Feb 05, 2012 Lesley rated it really liked it
The Jane Austen Book Club is an international best seller which ultimately became a successful film in 2007. I brought my edition late in 2004 and shamefully only just got around to reading it this week.

I picked this up thinking it would be great but like any best seller there were quite a few negative reviews floating around at the time, dispelling all the good press it had received. I stupidly got put off and left it to languish on my bookcase.

I thought about reading it when I saw that a film
Aug 24, 2012 Dorian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've a notion someone told me this was a good book. They must have very different "good book" criteria from mine. I wasn't a bit impressed with it. It read to me like a chick-lit novel that was trying to be all Literary and Intellectual (and failing miserably).

I might have quite liked to have read an unashamed chick-lit novel about some or all of the characters. But this book kept interrupting the interesting bits-about-the-characters (which were, in any case, flashbacks) with random not-very-in
Sep 27, 2008 Shafitri rated it it was ok
Well, I'm very disappointed with this book... I had known before I read it that this book wouldn't be all about Jane Austen, but rather of the lives of the members of Jane Austen book club. However, the thing that disappoints me so much is that this book seemed to only use the name "Jane Austen" to make her fans interested and want to read the book... Well, I kinda feel tricked into reading it actually =)

Well,at first i was quite satisfied with the beginning... because it argues about Jane Auste
E. Amato
Oct 25, 2012 E. Amato rated it did not like it
I love Jane Austen. I find this book very close to awful, yet not close enough to be interesting. Is this what women read? Is this chick lit? Women's fiction? All the women are unlikeable stereotypes - boring ones, at that. The men are sexless addenda to domestic life. They inhabit a white-people problems world that is so superficial as to be maudlin. It feels written through the veil of anti-depressants or between runs to Costco - or both. I don't think I'll be able to finish it. I'm not even s ...more
Jan 09, 2015 TL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading, favorites
Meet the Jane Austen Book Club:




Sylvia and Allegra:

(my favorite besides Grigg, love em all though)

Embarrassing to admit sort of, but I'd forgotten I had already read this book, but I can't remember when. It must have been after I saw the movie (rented it off Netflix at the time) and I have a vague memory of thinking why they added certain scenes to the movie when the ones in the book worked fine.

It was nice to re-visit this again, it's a low key book and not for
Feb 23, 2010 Kay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are few books I would call elegant - this is one of them.

I was more than pleasantly surprised by the constructed simplicity of The Jane Austen Book Club. I had seen the movie - which was perfectly enjoyable - and had taken a look at the chick-lit cover, and thought I would be in for a very light-hearted read.

While the book is not a tale of doom and destruction, it is far from simplistic. Joy Fowley manages to fit so much character and emotion into the small novel. We see the characters on
Feb 02, 2009 Claudia rated it did not like it

I love Jane Austen, so it's hard to claim I'm not terribly... shall we say... "girlie"? Still, I've not been one to join the bandwagon about such chick flicks that are often described as tear jerkers. I tried this book. Really, I did.

I mean, there’s nothing really wrong with it, the writing is good enough, but I can’t seem to get excited about it in the least bit. It’s a whole 175 pages long, which means I should have gotten through it in a couple of sittings. Instead, I’m still
Mar 28, 2008 James rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Austenites
A well written novel that ends up flat. Fowler does a great job of taking the things she loves about Austen and putting them in her book. I have to say though if you haven't read Austen some of the subtleties may go unnotoiced. Her biggest problem was having characters that were linear in their development. If done well it isn't a problem, but her characters felt like they were playing a part in each chapter rather than growing throughout the book. I have to say I felt connected to Grigg because ...more
Sep 05, 2009 Caroline rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel, prose
I approached this novel with a little trepidation because I love Austen, and I hate when people are *wrong* about Austen (that's a semi-ironic 'wrong'; what I really mean is that my opinions about Austen are deeply-held and tend to send me on rants) -- so I was worried that this book was just going to use Austen as an excuse to tell a silly modern-day love story about annoying shallow people.

But! It's really not like that at all. This is a book about people who love reading and love talking abou
Nidah (SleepDreamWrite)
My sister and I were at the library and picked up some movies to watch. One of them being the Jane Austen Book Club. Since we both liked the movies, this sounded cute.

I thought it was okay, not bad or anything but has its moments. Then I pondered whether to read the book or not. Finally, finally when it was on the shelf, I wasn't going to get it, then was like, you know right? Its not that long, so why not see how it compares to the film?

And with that, I thought the movie was a little better. L
Lisa Vegan
May 12, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jane Austen fans, as long as their expectations aren't too high
This novel didn’t quite work for me despite its clever premise. It’s about six members (5 women and 1 man) who are members of the Jane Austen book club, and they read the 6 Jane Austen novels for their book club. Each book club member’s life has obvious parallels with plots/characters in one of the six Jane Austen novels. This book has six chapters: one for each Jane Austen novel discussion, and each chapter also focuses on the book club member who has most in common with that novel. Whew! Anywa ...more
Robert Blumenthal
Mar 11, 2016 Robert Blumenthal rated it it was amazing
Although being a rather devoted fan of Karen Joy Fowler, I avoided reading this novel for years because I thought it would be a bit too light and fluffy for me. A good friend of mine with very discriminating taste recommended it to me, and I thought I would give it a go. I was very pleasantly surprised on many levels. This novel had a lot more meat than I expected (kind of ironic to say that being a long-term vegetarian).

I am a huge fan of Jane Austen, finding her to be beyond brilliant as a wr
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  • Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict (Jane Austen Addict, #1)
  • Emma & Knightley: The Sequel to Jane Austen's Emma
  • Old Friends and New Fancies: An Imaginary Sequel to the Novels of Jane Austen
  • Dancing with Mr. Darcy: Stories Inspired by Jane Austen and Chawton House
  • Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure
  • The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen
  • Jane Austen Ruined My Life
  • The Exploits & Adventures of Miss Alethea Darcy (Darcy, #2)
  • Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A Tale of a Gentleman and an Officer (Darcy and Fitzwilliam, #1)
  • Expectations of Happiness: A Companion Volume to Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility
  • Searching For Pemberley
  • Me and Mr. Darcy
  • What Would Jane Austen Do?
  • Colonel Brandon's Diary (Jane Austen Heroes, #5)
  • Jane and His Lordship's Legacy (Jane Austen Mysteries, #8)
  • 101 Things You Didn't Know About Jane Austen: The Truth about the World's Most Intriguing Romantic Literary Heroine
  • The Jane Austen Cookbook
I was born in Bloomington, Indiana. I was due on Valentine's Day but arrived a week early; my mother blamed this on a really exciting IU basketball game. My father was a psychologist at the University, but not that kind of psychologist. He studied animal behavior, and especially learning. He ran rats through mazes. My mother was a polio survivor, a schoolteacher, and a pioneer in the co-operative ...more
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“Arriving late was a way of saying that your own time was more valuable than the time of the person who waited for you.” 108 likes
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