Thursday, August 22, 2013

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

An Austen Addict's Alter-Reality (Jane Austen Week)

Instead of looking at a book by Jane Austen, I’m switching gears with a book that serves as a tribute to Austen.  Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler is about a modern-day woman who considers Pride and Prejudice her “drug of choice.”  It’s the book she rereads through every breakup, disappointment, and crisis.  And this time she really needs Elizabeth and Darcy to get her through a doozy, the breakup of her engagement.  She pours herself  an icy shot of Absolut, cracks open the book, and then things get a bit fuzzy.  When she wakes up, she’s in a strange room with strangers all around her. The obviously confused Brits keep calling her Miss Mansfield.  It’s all quite a dream until Courtney can’t pinch herself awake.  She’s actually in another time and another woman’s body.  The back of the book cover explains that “… not even her level of Austen mania has prepared Courtney for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperones, condomless seducers, and marriages of convenience.”

I haven’t read and reread Austen’s novels enough to make analytical comparisons of this book to Austen’s work .  All I know is that I truly enjoyed this book and Courtney’s journey back to an eye-opening clash of cultures. Inconveniences  and realities of the time period take her from a realm of romanticism to mild irritation. Corsets are uncomfortable; pungent body odor is offensive.  I never would have thought that a nice carriage ride would actually be a bone-shattering event.   

My book club read this novel and most of the group gave it a thumbs-up. The complaints that did come up were that it seemed to be slow at times. One book club member said she kept waiting for something to happen. She was a bit put off with the constant referring back to the 21st century and the rather flip and sarcastic comments when things didn't go right. No surprise that we all agreed that women especially didn’t have it easy back then.  This book is not a scholarly dissection of Austen’s work; it is a fun jaunt into a different time and place.



“After clattering around in Mary’s coach for who knows how many hours, my bones have become castanets.”
Laurie Viera Rigler, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict (Dutton, 2007; reprint, New York: Penguin Group, A Plume Book, 2008), 225.

“All I do is have a nice chat with a guy over dinner and everyone’s ready to order wedding invitations. Talk about assumptions.”
Laurie Viera Rigler, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict (Dutton, 2007; reprint, New York: Penguin Group, A Plume Book, 2008), 68.


Happy reading,

Annette


What did you think of this book? Post a comment or email: Readinginthegarden@gmail.com

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