My Least Favourite Book
There, I said it. I know I’ve made no secret of the fact that I can. not. stand. Jane Austen (but I can spell her name right, unlike many of her fans!), but this book made me SO ANGRY when I read it, that I almost didn’t read Pride and Prejudice (which was included in the library edition I had picked up for a quarter at a sale) – I should have just given up, because I thought P+P was almost as bad.
I have tried and tried and tried to see what it is that everyone loves about Austen, but her writing isn’t my thing at all. Her prose is fine and all, but the dialogue is horrible and trite, and I hate her characters – I wanted to smack Marianne and someone needed to crotch punch Willoughby – I don’t care for reading 200 year old gossip, which was what this felt like to me.
Blergh. Never again.
I can probably say with all honesty that Jane Austen kind of turned me off of classic literature. Prior to reading these, I’d read a ton of classics (on my own, we didn’t have to read them in school), but can’t think of many I’ve read since then.
Sorry Austenites, but I think this quote from Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair sums up my feelings nicely:
Jane Eyre was published in 1847 under the pseudonym Currer Bell, a suitably neuter name that disguised Charlotte Brontë’s sex. It was a great success, William Thackeray described the novel as ‘The master work of a great genius.’ Not that the book was without its critics: GH Lewes suggested that Charlotte should study Austen’s work and ‘correct her shortcomings in the light of that great artist’s practice.’ Charlotte replied that Miss Austen’s work was barely – in the light of what she wanted to do – a novel at all. She referred to it as ‘a highly cultivated garden with no open country.’ The jury is still out.
Things I Learned from Reading Jane Austen
- 19th century women frequently wasted away of broken hearts, much like Tolkien’s elves.
- Bitches were crazy for gossip even then – they just had longer travel times and no telephones.
- A 35 year old man IS TOO OLD to be looking to get married.
- Be prepared to settle.