The Jane Austen Book Club

I love the Jane Austen Book Club, love it, love it, love it. The movie I mean. Set in my hood, although not filmed here, about books, the love of reading, libraries, relationships, younger men, older woman, betrayal. What's not to love? I've seen it 7 seven times, so much so the kids just groan when they walk in the room and catch it on the small screen.

The book- not so much. I tried and tried and then I tried again. I loved the movie so much I wanted to like, no I wanted to love it. I willed myself to love it. I grunted, I groaned, I fought -no such luck. I picked it up at my usual Meth house (Borders) read a chapter or two- nope. I picked it up again at the Library- couldn't bring myself to check it out. Third time being the charm I listened to it on audio. Ahhh- comme ce, comme sa, It was ok.

She tries, which is probably the worst thing you can say about anyone- the basic story is there, a book club with the following members:
  • Sylvia: recently separated after 32 years of marriage and three children.
  • Jocelyn: Sylvia's spinster best friend, breeder of dogs.
  • Prudie: a 20 something married French teacher, confused by her new endless fantasies about sex with other men.
  • Bernadette: Now in her 60's has decided she can finally relax and let herself go.
  • Allegra: Sylvia's beautiful, lesbian, adventure junkie daughter
  • Grigg, a middle-aged science fiction fan with absolutely delightful sisters.
The book is six chapters, one for each character. To Karen's credit, she writes some incredibly descriptive people. As each seems to bond with each other, we bond further and further with the characters. So what's the problem exactly? I don't know-something is missing. The spark, the chemistry, that little something, that transforms a relationship from merely a booty call to a marriage of 37 years.
Perhaps, Karen Joy Fowler's greatest contribution is the reintroduction of Jane Austen to a new generation. Don't skip it though- I have high standards- If pushed I'd give this a B-.




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