I’d be more proud of the fact that it is only January 2 and I have already commenced and completed a 300 page novel, but well, I confess to having skimmed bits of it and generally found it a little on the “too easy” reading side. It felt like the style of writing was geared toward the junior high set. I mean, the vocabulary wasn’t adolescent but the depth of emotion, description and general-roundness in the writing was decidedly lacking.

And yet, I won’t completely pan Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. It’s an interesting idea, better done than some others (I wish I could remember the name of the horrible one I read where a modern girl becomes Jane Austen and has something going on with a guy on a horse… not memorable I guess). Here a modern thirty-ish “independent” girl from LA magically swoops into Jane Mansfield’s life in Regency England. (I say “independent” because the girl seems to base her LA life value on the horrible man she was attached to there out of desperation not to be lonely, and that is really not all that independent, is it?) There is no real attempt to show how this happened other than a very random psychic she chases down in Bath (no, really).

I think the author tried to deal with the practicality parts of living in that time as most fan fics seem to glibly gloss over or fail to mention at all, which I would like to applaud. But it is all so disjointed and in fits in starts that for nearly the first half of the book I felt like Ms. Rigler had some sort of “checklist for what would be weird if a 21st century girl landed in 19th century times.”  The bit about her “monthly courses” was a bit much. Although, in the same vein, Jane’s horror at the thought of bathing in the waters in Bath next to some old broad with exposed pustules on her leg was pretty bang on.

The supposed love story between Jane and her “man” Edgeworth was just strange and really nothing more than intense lust she was trying to deny out of trust issues (poor man actually seemed to love her). And yet, with those same trust issues, she eschews polite strictures between men and women of that time meeting a servant in a public place and allowing him to touch her (or her to touch him??) and almost has sex with some guy she meets at a raucous London party. I get that the point of that was for her to have a revelation about sex and sloppy seconds or one night stands, but the whole approach to Jane’s fitting into the 19th century yet fighting against it was just off–too unbelievable.

If you’re a Jane Austen freak, then you’ll feel compelled to read it. You just will–you know it; I know it, and nothing I can say here will dissuade you. For those not quite at the obsessed or freakish status–skip it and start reading something else. The only message in this book that I could see was that letting your fears guide your decisions is no way to live and makes you look at the world with a stilted point of view. And you’ll never find happiness until you trust yourself and those around you enough to let go of those fears and just revel in the world as it really is.  Maybe that’s a good message; I don’t know–maybe it’s crap. All I can say is that the book is a hearty waste of time.

I did like one thing about the book tremendously–this quote:

“Then, somehow, without preamble, I go into that semi-mediative state that I have experienced several times while embroidering, and I am completely at piece.”

Truly? Perhaps Ms. Rigler is a fellow-embroiderer? Even so, I still wouldn’t like this book.

This all reminds me that I need to commit to a reading goal for the year some time soon.

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