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Jane Austen in Boca

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  611 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a nice Jewish widower must be in want of a wife.

Jane Austen centered her classic novels around "three or four families in a country village." So does Paula Marantz Cohen in this witty twist on Pride and Prejudice---except this time the "village" is Boca Raton, Florida.
Eligible men are scarce in Boca. When good-hearted meddler Car
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 9th 2003 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published September 5th 2000)
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Jul 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
It took me two years to finish this 260 page book, and there's a reason for that.
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: traded
Having read two of Cohen's other books (Austen in Scarsdale, Much Ado About Jessie Kaplan), I knew what to expect in terms of literary weight (or lack thereof)...and because of that, I almost didn't read this one.

As expected, this book was a (comparatively) light, quick read. The parallels to certain characters and plot points within Pride & Prejudice are highly recognizable, but not particularly heavy-handed. What does come to feel a bit heavy-handed are the stereotypes. Not being Jewish,
Jul 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: topical-fun
A marvellously well written,witty and honoring book. Paula Marantz Cohen could have been devastatingly unkind to both Jane and her locale but there is such love and affection for Pride and Prejudice, as well the 'small (FL) village of three or four families. Very cleverly the author makes the Bennet sisters in Florida sisters of choice rather than birth -- and removes Lydia entirely from the family. Wickham is perfect although Cohen managed to make me feel sympathy for him as Mel. I wonder if sh ...more
Feb 07, 2010 rated it did not like it
Before I start---I am a huge Jane Austen fan and I try to read everything that "borrows" from Jane.

This book is AWFUL. I only stuck with it to see how Jane Austen inspired it--and because I was stuck on a 2 hour commute with nothing to read.

1. The writing is bad, BAD....the author forces details into the book that do not need to be there. One second you are reading about the characters eating dinner---and then she starts in on details of grandchildren that are not involved in the story...
2. Ev
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, romance, florida
Witty and entertaining retelling of "Pride and Prejudice" in a contemporary setting in a Jewish retirement center in Florida. Instead of a mother determined to marry off her daughters, we have a daughter-in-law who is a natural-born yenta, whose bossiness is a delightful blend of officiousness and love. The details of the retirement community and its distinctive characters carry just the right tone of humor without veering into a more hard-edged mockery. P&P fans will delight in the recognit ...more
Claudia Turner
Aug 30, 2016 rated it did not like it
This is a bad book that talks about good books. It's boring and shallow and its only redeeming quality is the "Jane Austen" in the title that unfortunately made me pick it up in the first place.

The characters are Jewish and Cohen sprinkles every other paragraph with stereotypes to make this apparent (unnecessary). The last chapter is like a subpar English essay examining Pride and Prejudice from an 8th grader. Jane Austen would be mortified. The writing is BAD. What more can we say about it? Ho
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Margie by: Kate G. - Thanks!
Delightful! Jane Austen fans will no doubt be able to predict the turn of events, but that doesn't take away from the charm and fun of the story.
P Bright
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a hilarious take on Jane Austen. My favorite part was when the poor mother in "Pride and Prejudice" is defended. I have been accused of being like the poor woman and so I was delighted to hear someone explain her position with respect and understanding.
Dec 13, 2009 rated it liked it
It is a truth universally acknowledged that, ninety percent of the time, under favorable circumstances, and in moderately believable situations, an attempt at modernizing a Jane Austen plot cannot fail. Although I would not go so far as to say that "Jane Austen In Boca" is my most favorite Austen rehashing, I will appropriately praise the work as worthy of investment and encourage toward it the attention of any Janeite (particularly those [how shall I put it?] of the more mature set. *cricket ch ...more
Sydney Mitchell
Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Jane Austen in Boca is a fun and good spirited read and I really enjoyed it. In this spin off of Pride and Prejudice a nosey daughter in law named Carol Newman attempts to set her alone mother in law May, up with a recently single (and wealthy) bachelor, Norman. Hmmm sounds familiar. Carol and May’s friend Flo try and help get these two together while a man by the name of Stan just bugs Flo. This story takes place in a retirement community and just makes it a more modern and humorous love story. ...more
Jul 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Paula Cohen has created a very satisfying novel. It begins and ends with a character that typifies the insular culture that is the story setting. I have often found authors willing to use the Jewish culture with a laugh and a good dig but lacking the explanation and even admiration Ms Cohen brings to her stories. I have learned about the culture and seen it through eyes as intimate and wry as Austen's. This book does borrow four main pairings and some story line from Pride and Prejudiced as the ...more
Jun 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
Take Pride and Prejudice and place it in a Boca Raton, Florida Jewish retirement community. Widow May Newman (think Jane Bennett) has made a nice life for herself at Boca Festa. She enjoys spending time with her two best friends Flo Kliman and Lila Katz. May’s nosy daughter-in-law catches wind of a suitable suitor for May, Norman Grafstein (Charles Bingley) and does everything in her power to get them together (sound like Mrs. Bennett anyone?) May’s feisty retired librarian friend Flo clashes wi ...more
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ms. Cohen sets a familiar Austen novel in sunny Florida where the inhabitants are alive and kicking—even when well into their 70s. Here is a motley crue of characters, some shy and retiring, others outgoing and intrusive and all of them infused with the feisty spirit of the deeply opinionated. These are people who have lived richly, found peace with their lives and now take great comfort in interfering with the lives of their assorted children, grandchildren and relatives.

Argumentative, knowing
Book Concierge

This is a delightful retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in a Jewish retirement community in Boca Raton Florida. The story focuses on three widows: May Newman, Flo Kliman and Lila Katz. When May’s daughter-in-law, Carol, learns that the widowed father of her husband’s school friend is now living in a retirement community just down the road from May, she is determined to get the two of them together. (Think Mrs Bennet anxious to put her girls in the path of Mr Bingley.) From her New Jersey
Oct 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love this book!! I have never read a Jane Austen book, but if they are as entertaining as this book, then I need to get to the library and check out Pride and Prejudice, the Jane Austen book this book is based on.

This book focuses on the love lives of three close friends, Lila, May and Flo, all Jewish, all widows and all members of a retirement community in Boca Rotan, Florida. It is wonderful to read about older people in a way that is not demeaning or making fun of them. The book is amusing
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Jane Austen in Boca is a testament that Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice is timeless. Using Austen's tried and true P&P formula, Cohen successfully translates the original into a witty, modern story of a little retirment community in Boca Raton. I was hesitant to pick this up, having read many P&P adaptions and assuming I wouldnt really find anything of interest-- having nothing in common with Jewish retirees. Was I ever pleasantly surprised out how quickly I become immersed in the pe ...more
May 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Jewish grandmas
OK, with this novel, my Jane Austen phase is officially over! In the past month I have read 3 of her originals, watched 4 movie versions, and then read this JA inspired novel.

My first geriatric romance novel! Most of the characters are in their 70s, and the senior ladies do have a few things in common with Jane's gals. They can't get jobs to support themselves, there are very few good men to choose from and they may have to rely on the goodness of their family for their support.

There are some f
May 06, 2007 rated it it was ok
It was ok. I mean, I guess I was more conscious than with a lot of other renditions of classics that that's what it was--just a retelling, and there was not any real suspense, since I knew what was going to happen. I also thought it was a little unwieldy, the whole Jewish retirement home thing (aside from the smattering of Italians, evidently). Some of the characters worked well under these constraints, but others, since Cohen was so insistent upon (and painfully self-conscious about) the Jewish ...more
Jean Perry
May 01, 2013 rated it liked it
I would really give this 31/2 stars if i could. It's not fantastic literature, but it was just what i needed during three very busy weeks. It was slow and interesting and i read a little each night to setttle down. I was afraid thru half of it that it was going to be a romance novel where all the "seniors" were going to find someone to love, but it ddn't end up way. The last third of the book was the most interesting as one character, an English prof leads a dscussion of Pride and Prejudice in t ...more
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
I heard this author speak at a Jane Austen debate (Pride and Prejudice versus Sense and Sensibility) and picked up her novel that retells Pride and Prejudice. The setting is now a Boca Raton retirement community inhabited by mostly New York Jews. Mr. Collins is now a jabbermouth retiree with loud ties. Mr. Darcy is a semi-retired professor and widower. Instead of sisters there are widowed friends/neighbors. I thought it was hilarious and loved it. The author has great affection for Boca Raton an ...more
Janet Lynch
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This satirical comedy of manners is a rendition of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE set in a Florida retirement community with predominantly Jewish residents. I had to review the original work to draw parallels between Austen’s characters and Cohen’s, but that was part of the fun. Cohen has plenty of wiggle-room in plot and character and takes deft advantage of both. The novel culminates at a lecture series on Pride and Prejudice where Cohen’s characters find they can learn something about themselves by a cl ...more
Nov 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
More "chick lit" should be like this. Perhaps it's weak to model your book on Pride and Prejudice, because the formula is just so flawless, and you don't have to come up with it on your own. But when your readers are just looking for some entertainment, this strategy is also a sure bet.

As soon as all the characters were on the scene, I knew what was going to happen. But I enjoyed Cohen's wry and affectionate commentary on Jewish-Florida-retiree life. Never has a truer story been told about the
Amanda Himes
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Although the book was often funny, the use of a number of Jewish stereotypes was disappointing. I had expected more from such a respected Austen scholar. May and Lila are fine as the Jane Bennet and Charlotte Lucas characters, but Flo (as Lizzie Bennet) is not very likable or witty. The romance between Stan Jacobs (the Darcy character) and Flo comes too late in the novel--almost the last page--with not much development beforehand. However, the retirement community in Boca works very well as a st ...more
Jan 11, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a version of Pride and Prejudice set in a predominantly Jewish retirement community in Florida. I loved Flo telling May, "You need 'mean' lessons" because May doesn't criticize someone harshly enough. I loved how they audited the Jane Austen class at the local college and got into a discussion of what pride is and what prejudice is. I loved the way the author adapted situations from the Austen novel to this setting. However, that said, I found it lacking in the brand of sparkling wit tha ...more
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Georgene by: Philip Wickstrand
My son and I were wandering around Salvation Army looking for books on 1/2 price day. My son shoved this book towards me and said: "Here. This looks like something you'd like." (Or words to that effect.) So, I added it to my pile.

I am well rewarded for buying this book. I like "Pride and Prejudice" and have recently re-read it. With roughly the same plot, this book centers around a largely Jewish retirement center in Boca Ratan, Florida.

I found this book funny and highly entertaining. So, if yo
May 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Quick read. Story of three widows now living in Boca Raton at Boca Festa a middle income retirement village. Carol Neuman sets out to hook her mother-in-law May up with well-to-do recent widower Norman Grafstein. She makes a special trip down to Florida from New Jersey to set the ball in motion. Norman comes with his friend Stan Jacobs, the father of his daughter-in-law and also a recent widower. Misunderstandings, pre-judgments, and pride provide interesting and funny situations. Authentic look ...more
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Jane Austen
Recommended to Jennifer by: Adena Staben
This is an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice set in the Jewish retirement community of Boca Raton, Florida. As in Jane Austen in Scarsdale, Marantz Cohen does a good job of capturing the spirit of the novel in this new setting and not simply checking off boxes. There's a lot of sly and sometimes not so sly social commentary, a lot of description of food and clothing, and a valuable lesson about first impressions. I found it a fun and charming read and one that I think Austen would have approved ...more
Apr 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: austenalia
It took a while for me to get the Austen link with this book. It started out more like "Emma" than "P & P." However, as the story went along, I began to see more similarities. The author pursued the interesting twist of setting the story among senior citizens in a returement community in Florida. There was a bit too much information on the peculiarities of Jewish retirees for my taste. A documentary film crew was brought in late in the book, which didn't really add to the story. A bit uneven ...more
Feb 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a clever retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in a retirement community for active seniors in Boca Raton and I thought it was so sweet. I also love the Golden Girls, so this wasn't surprising... It was about the Jewish community in Boca who were mainly from Jersey and Philly and New York and it was spot on, I swear no exaggerations. The author is a Drexel University (Philly) professor so she knows, and the book is smarter than your average chick-lit book, or geriatric chick-lit even...
I was a little disappointed in this book after reading Cohen's other books. This book is her first novel; one thing I enjoy about her books is that she's an English professor at Drexel, so the books are very literate.

Perhaps if I were an older Jewish woman I would have enjoyed the story more. (I'm not trying to stereotype; the book is set in a retirement community filled with elderly Jewish people.)
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Paula Marantz Cohen, Distinguished Professor of English, received her BA in English and French from Yale University and her Ph.D. in English from Columbia University. She is the author of seven books and numerous essays on literature, film, and culture.

Her most recent academic book, Silent Film and the Triumph of the American Myth (Oxford UP), was selected as a Choice Outstanding Book for 2003. H
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“She was like a farmer who keeps horses in order to haul away the manure that they generate.” 1 likes
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