Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Jane Austen Book Club

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Fowler was somewhat of a delight to read. I've always seen this book in the library yet had never thought to pick it up because it's for adults and didn't seem too interesting at all. However, after I watched the movie and LOVED it, I thought I'd give it a try.

The book club is made up of 6 members (5 women and 1 man) who all come together and form the club as a pick-me-up for Sylvia, a member, whose husband has just left her for another women. The other members think that the club will be a good distraction for her and help her move on with life. The basic structure of the club is to read all of Austen's six novels (Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma), one a month, with each book club member hosting the book discussion at their own house. As you read on you realize that each character has an Austen novel that pretty much describes their life and that with each novel they present you find out more about them and how each member is connected to others in the group.

I thought this book was okay and was really only interested in one of the story lines (Prudie's). I loved the movie and found that watching the movie prior to reading the book really helped me visualize the characters and the story line because I could see the real-life representations in my mind. I thought the book was okay, but definitely prefer the movie to the book when it comes to this one. I loved that the author is from Davis, CA. and set the novel in the San Fransisco Bay Area. Other than that, I found the group's discussion hard to follow because the language was tough to work through as well as their lofty thoughts. I had to really concentrate to get through their gatherings and found myself skipping ahead somewhat. It's sad, but by the time I got to the last 100 pages or so I just skimmed and only really read the parts that stuck with the movie. I'm horrible, I know, but sue me. It was hard and my brain hurt sometimes!

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