May 16, 2008

Jane's Book Club

Karen Joy Fowler's The Jane Austen Book Club is an interesting amalgamation of characters, but the book for me was not as satisfying as I had hoped. Many of the characters reminded me of Jane Austen's characters, though a bit more modern. Jocelyn reminds me of a modern day Elizabeth Bennett, while Prudie reminds me of Elizabeth's mother, especially because she prattles on and on.

For this book, I really won't be doing any spoilers. This is one book you would have to read on your own. The characters I found most interesting, however, were the ones not delved into as much as I would have liked. I really enjoyed Sylvia's daughter, Allegra, but unfortunately, you don't see much of her. The narrator, who I'm not really clear on, seems to assume we know quite a bit about Allegra's character, when we really don't. I wonder if the narrator is an omniscient outsider or an actual book club member--this was not clear to me.

The resolution to the book club seems about rushed, and I wonder if the book club continues with another author's works or whether it simply disbands after all of Austen's works are discussed by the members. Fowler may have something here; perhaps she should consider writing additional book club books with character parallels from different authors.

Also Reviewed by:
The Written Word


Anna said...

When I picked up this book, I thought it was going to really be about a book club. I figured they'd have the characters' stories, but I expected more talk about the Jane Austen books.

If you pick up this book expecting a lot of Jane Austen, you'll be disappointed, in my opinion.

Are you going to see the movie now?? We should see it together; I think it's out on DVD.

Serena said...

Yeah I really didn't expect it to be too much about the books. My problem was that the characters I liked and wanted to know more about were those that weren't really in it that much or delved into a whole lot.

We can see the movie if you like. I have no preference to the book as you can see.

Stephanie said...

I really disliked this book (you can see my review here: but found the movie much more interesting. Now how many times do you hear that? :)

Serena said...

I will have to check out the movie then. I have linked your post to this review, if you could do the same.

naida said...

I had wanted to read this one but it doesnt sound so great. I havent seen the film yet.

Amanda said...

Interesting. I actually really liked this book. It was the first modern book in a long time that I thought was any good (I'm not a modern fiction fan). I liked how in each chapter, she parallels the Austen book to the character's lives, and writes each character's chapter the way their parallel character was written. It was fascinating. Way too much overlap for me to every accomplish in my own writing. I thought it was brilliant. Review here.

Serena said...

I liked the idea that she would parallel the books read by the group with the characters, but in some ways it worked, but in others I don't think it was executed well enough for me.

Marissa said...

Keep up the good work.