Emily's Reviews > The Jane Austen Book Club

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
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's review
Oct 03, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: 2008, funky-fiction, chick-lit, they-made-a-movie
Recommended for: Jane Austen fans only
Read in September, 2008

** spoiler alert ** I chose to read The Jane Austen Book Club for two reasons - I liked the movie, and my friend Jessica had a copy I could easily borrow. Plus, I needed something light after my last book. The novel tells the story of a group of women, and one man, who are on a quest to read all 6 Jane Austen novels over a period of 6 months. The movie in fact kind of inspired me to get my own book club up and running. I'm actually kind of glad that I saw the movie first on this one ...

The scoring ...

** This book was almost obnoxious to read if you're not an Austenite. I have never read a single sentence of a Jane Austen book, so I'm definitely not it's target audience. - Minus 3

** I might be a youngin' but I found it hard to relate to the characters. Most were in my mother's age bracket and older. The two that were closer to my own age, one was a bitter lesbian, and the other an uptight teacher, neither of which I particularly related to. - Minus 2

** Speaking of the bitter lesbian ... why did she have to be a slutty angsty stereotype?? Think outside the box, there are lesbians in the world that don't sleep with each and every other lesbian they meet, or are angry about life. - Minus 4

** One of the few things that I did love about the novel was that it had cross generational friendships. - Plus 3

** One of my very best friends in the entire world lives just outside of Sacramento, where the book takes place. He works at an Air Force Officer's Club called The Delta Breeze ... which I always thought was kind of a weird name for an officer's club, and thought it belonged on something more flamboyant. But reading this book taught me that the delta breeze is an actual weather pattern in northern California. And I feel so much better for knowing that. - Plus 5

** The chapters were really quite long, but except for Prudie's chapter, most had good stopping points. - Neutral

** I liked the layout of the movie a lot better. I know that I shouldn't really compare the book and the movie and determine if I like it or not, but it's hard not to do so. Anyway, the movie was much more laid out as a coherent story rather than the novel which was snippets of each character's life with limited interaction beyond the actual book club meetings. - Minus 2

** I really want to know who the narrator of this book was. It was definitely a third person narrative, but at the same time, the narrator felt more like a character without a name or a backstory. I didn't like it. - Minus 3

** There's a quote about librarians that I particularly liked ... "When librarians read for pleasure, they often pick a good mystery. They tend to be cat people as well, for reasons more obscure." - Plus 3

** Again with the movie comparisons, but I liked the portrayal of Prudie's mother a lot more in the book than in the movie. In the movie, she was insufferable. In the book, she seemed much more of a genuine free spirit. - Plus 2

** I also preferred the portrayal of Prudie's attempt at an affair with a student in the novel. - Plus 2

** The movie made me want to read a Jane Austen novel. The book makes me want to sell the three paperback copies I have of her books immediately. - Minus 2

** The book was marketed as chick lit. But it didn't seem too much like chick lit to me as I read it. At least not in my definition of chick lit, aka the neuvo romance novel without the shame and the half naked people on the covers. - Minus 2

** I don't get the disharmony between Prudie and her husband. She doesn't think that she's pretty enough to deserve him, so she hates him for loving her?? It makes no sense to me. - Minus 3

** I really liked Bernadette. She was a feisty old lady without a care in the world & totally true to herself. I hope one day to be just like her. - Plus 3

** What was the point of Mo Bellington?? Was it to show how simple mystery writers are today compared to how complex Jane Austen is?? Seemed rather snobby! - Minus 4

Final score ... Minus 9. Needless to say, I was not a fan. I probably should have left well enough alone, and liked the movie without having ever read the book. Ugh. I hate it when a book disappoints me this much.
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