Kendra's Reviews > Jane Austen Ruined My Life

Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo
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's review
Mar 01, 2009

did not like it
Read in February, 2009

This novel was recommended to me by a friend who knows how much I adore Jane Austen.

It’s about a woman who’s recently divorced (spectacularly, I might add). Her career as a literature professor has been ruined by her ex. So, she embarks on a wild goose chase in England to discover the unknown pieces of Jane Austen’s life (her means: obtaining letters supposedly destroyed by Jane’s sister, Cassandra).

I found the parallels this author drew to Austen’s novels whimsical; a nice touch. But, I spent the majority of the book disliking the narrator. She’s a complete narcissist stuck in her own head. I honestly faulted the author’s grasp on how dialogue should work in a book (ie, that it can’t only be one-sided to further the storyline). However, towards the end, the author clears this up. It was intentional.

But, I think the revelation came too late for me to find the character redeemable. Plus, the end “lesson” was a touch disappointing. And I would have liked to have seen more of Jane’s letters; I feel like the author wimped out on that front. It was a cute read, certainly. Quick. A nice pallet-cleanser after some heinously gag-reflex-inducing fiction (see “Last Night at the Lobster” review). All in all, it was a nice little slice of adventure/chick lit (no sex or mooning over a male, for which I was grateful!).

Would I recommend it? Maybe. I didn’t not enjoy it, that’s for certain. But, it may only have been my love of Austen that sustained me. I still believe in the happy ending Jane so valiantly campaigns for in her literature ;)
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Colette I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. Everyone else seems to have enjoyed it, but Emma annoyed the crap out of me.

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