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, the six-times divorced earth mother who brings them all together for six months of Jane Austen book clubbing. They’re joined by some computer guy named Grigg, if that’s even a name, who probably was supposed to add a bit of male perspective and — surprise! — a love interest, but the book is so poorly written that he’s virtually indiscernible from the women. Their “discussions” are banal, the correspondence to their personal lives contrived, and the characters themselves both irritating and supremely boring, which I suppose must be some sort of an accomplishment. Normally I like reading about losers and rejects (A Confederacy of Dunces, my journals), but these people and their self-created angst grated on my nerves. I borrowed this on cd from the library and found myself skipping ahead because I simply couldn’t take any more of their inane conversations. And, I'm shocked — shocked! — to report that skipping parts of the story didn't really detract from its overall flow.
Confession: Embarrassingly enough, I did watch the movie on dvd because it stars that dreamy Hugh Dancy (who, tragically, looks about half my age and body mass) and the movie was not nearly as bad as the book – extremely chick-flicky, but not downright dreadful.