Good morning! Well, my friends, today we’re getting back to our regularly scheduled programming and giving Dave some breathing room. Back before this little swoon-fest and pink sparkly laptops took over my blogsphere, I mentioned what a kick I was getting out of a book whose main character reminded me of, well, me.
I had originally thought that “Austenland” by Shannon Hale, was going to be an in-between book for me; a literary palate cleanser, if you will, between the dense, chewy language of “The Scientist and the Madman” and the crisp, crunchy science-speak of “Love 2.0”. But my wise friend Liz pointed that “Austenland” could certainly count as part of my challenge if I wanted it to – and guess what? I wanted it to!
You guys, “Austenland” was fun. It didn’t absorb me the way the Professor did, and it didn’t challenge me the way Love did (which we’ll be getting into next time) but did I mention it was fun?!?
Jane is a spunky, independent, thoroughly modern heroine, who’s perfectly aware of the ridiculousness of pining over a fictional character. What I love about her is that she chooses to be amused by her pining, rather than depressed by it:
Okay, all right, she would go. It would be her last hurrah. Like her friend Becky who’d taken an all-you-can-eat dinner cruise the night before going in for a stomach stapling, Jane was going to have one last live-it-up and then quit men entirely. She’d wriggle into the skin of that other Jane, play out her fantasy, have a staggering good time, and then bury it all for good. No more Darcy.
Cracks me the heck up. And, listen, as a single girl of, as my beloved Ms Austen would put it, “marriageable age”, who is about to face the summer wedding season head on without a plus one in sight, can I just tell you how much I love Jane’s attitude, here? She throws herself into her vacation at Pembrook Park, determined to enjoy every moment of her trip. A trip where she’s promised “country manners and hospitality—a tea visit, a dance or two, a turn in the park, an unexpected meeting with a certain gentleman, all culminating with a ball and perhaps something more…”
Which is what I loved about it. The whole time I was reading, in the back of my mind, I thought, well obviously, Jane is going to end up with Boy X, because even though she seems like she can stand up to Hollywood hype and societal pressures and the impossible expectations women bring on themselves by binging on episodes of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” and Ben & Jerry’s at the same time – she’s just a fictional character after all, and her author needs to pay her rent.
And then – ta-da! – a genuinely surprising, original, and for bonus points, funny, ending. *swo — *
Well, look at that. It seems we don’t need Dave around here to swoon after all. Have a wonderful day, everyone, and I’ll see you here tomorrow for Wordful Wednesday!