P.'s Reviews > Jane Austen: A Life

Jane Austen by Carol Shields
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Apr 11, 2010

liked it

I did not like this book, which at first just appalled me. I seriously regretted the decision to read an Austen bio. Then I realized what appalled me was Shields as she reverse-engineered Austen into a 20th century being that I began to feel was just like herself. As she channels not only Austen but everyone in her life, the book is full of 'must have felts' and worse. Occasionally she tells you what an entire room of people were feeling.

I read it because at 185pgs it was short, although it felt really long, and because I have another bio [please let it be better:] and thought the comparison would be useful.

One interesting entry in the book is what seems to be Austen's first critical review of S&S from the Morning Chronicle:

'the incidents are probable, and highly pleasing. and interesting; the conclusion such as the reader must wish it should be, and the whole is just long enough to interest without fatiguing'

Really, what writer could ask for more!
1 like · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Jane Austen.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

03/19/2010 page 17
8.85% "So far so-so sorry to say. Upside: short."
03/19/2010 page 37
19.27% "Not really getting better."
03/21/2010 page 71
36.98% "Nuts and bolts and too many modifiers. She is channeling Austen and IMHO has no right."

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Gulley My favorite, and it was an easy read, is Jane Austen, The Woman by George Holbert Tucker. I tried reading the thing her brother wrote, and it smacked of his new found profession, so laid it aside quickly.

message 2: by P. (new) - rated it 3 stars

P. Patricia,

Thanks for the link, I'm going to look into it IF I feel I need another bio after I read Halperin's 'The life of...' which bodes to be more historical, factual and interesting than than the last one I read. BTW in following the link to Amazon I came upon Jane Austen for Dummies! It may have been 'done to death' on the lists before I became a very recent member [written in 06:] but besides being a tad too energetic [something I never associate with Austen:] it appears from first glance to be a worthy read. Which is quite possibly heresy.


message 3: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Gulley I've always wanted to pick that one up, but I have 101 Things You Didn't Know About Jane Austen, and I really enjoyed that. Because you can skim a head and read the headlines, then go back and absorb at will.
blogging today at:

message 4: by P. (new) - rated it 3 stars

P. Well, I bought it anyway! What's one more? BTW I checked working stiffs but didn't see your post.

message 5: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Gulley I knew I said 'today' somewhere when I meant Friday.
Oh well.

message 6: by P. (last edited Apr 16, 2010 08:49AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

P. Patricia wrote: "I knew I said 'today' somewhere when I meant Friday.
Oh well.

Great post. You are on amazon as a kindle - why would that not entitle you to an author's page???? Also all the kindle author sites and links. Amazon is pretty kindle friendly {!} I had one and didn't much like it but my son LOVES his and so do a kazillion others. Some say [my publisher f'instance:] says ebooks is where the money is.

ps you got some great comments.

back to top