austenbcWho wrote this book and when?
Karen Joy Fowler had this book published in 2004.

Has there been a film version?
Yes, which is significantly better than the book.

Who are the important characters?
Jocelyn – a single woman who breeds dogs, very set in her ways and likes being in charge
Sylvia – Jocelyn’s best friend since school days, now in the middle of a separation with her husband
Bernadette – the oldest member of the book club, eccentric in attitude and dress, she talks excessively more than the other members
Prudie – a French teacher in her twenties, happily married but a little too interested in the relationships forming and dissolving around her
Allegra – Sylvia’s lesbian daughter, she is spoiled and into extreme sports, impetuous and eager to have the opposite opinion of anyone and everyone
Grigg – the only man in the book group, a science fiction geek who wants to dive into Jane Austen because he’s attracted to one of the girls in the group

What’s it about?
A group of friends decides to form a book group centered around their favorite author – Jane Austen. This is mostly a decision on Jocelyn’s part, wanting to get Sylvia’s mind off her husband leaving her for another woman. Jocelyn also invites Grigg, as a romantic interest for Sylvia, but Grigg has other ideas. Allegra, Bernadette, and Prudie round out the group with their quirky and very different personalities. Together the six members discuss all six of Jane’s novels and watch as their lives take on similar tacks to some of Austen’s beloved plots.

Do you recommend I read this book?
Um, I don’t usually say this, but I liked the movie much better than the book.

How did this book make my list?
I like things about Jane Austen. 😀

Has it won any awards?
No.

Favorite quotes:
“Light poured like milk over the porch. Several large winged insects hurled themselves against the screens, frantic to find it, follow it to the source.” – p 14

“Sylvia thought how all parents wanted an impossible life for their children – happy beginning, happy middle, happy ending. No plot of any kind. What uninteresting people would result if parents got their way.” – p 178

“She carried the letter about, rereading and rereading, watching her feelings rearrange about it, sentence by sentence, like a kaleidoscope.” – p 233

Anything else?
Each of the women are supposed to be one main character from a Jane Austen novel…I don’t see it much, but whatev.

Personal thoughts:
The most praise I can give this book is that it has great descriptive passages and the author does a lovely job and distinguishing each character’s voice from the others. The plot overall is slow and mishmashed together from each of the women (and Grigg’s ) lives. It feels quagmired. And most of the characters have been distilled down from what they could have been into the very strongest points of their personalities. Overall? This book is a disappointment. And I was very affronted to hear the author call Colonel Brandon a boring man.

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