This book takes us through a series of book club meeting where Jane Austen fans go through her books, one per month, as their own lives experiences sometime parallels adventures of the Austen characters. From March to November, they read the 6 Austen novels: Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, and Persuasion. Since I have not read of these books, I could not relate to all comments made about them through the characters’ comments but for the most part, I don’t think I missed much. I had read Northanger Abbey quite recently; I am very familiar with Pride and Prejudice, as well as Sense and Sensibility although through the movie and the BBC series. Mansfield Park, I read a long time ago and remember little of it, and I am totally missing Emma and Persuasion. I do have them on my Kobo along with Lady Susan, Love and Freindship and Selected Letters. It is just a matter of when I get to those parts of my virtual TBR pile.
Each chapter is associated with one month, one Austen book, and one character who hosts the book club meeting. We slowly find out each character’s story, influences on what they like to read and current life situation.
An appendix at the end offers quotes about a diversity of authors about their appreciation of Austen’s writing… Quite funny to see who likes Austen and who does not (Mark Twain!). The prologue starts by stating “Each of us has a private Austen.” And that is quite true for any author… We all have our own perception, our own relationship with the works of the authors we read.
I liked this book and found it quite readable but it did not have the excitement of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves in which the characters and plot are a lot wilder.
Fowler, Karen Joy. The Jane Austen Book Club. Penguin Putnam, New York, 2004.