Title: A Walk with Jane Austen
Author: Lori Smith
Genre: Memoir, Jane Austen
Date Finished:3 April 2008
My Rating: 2 Stars
It can be kinda annoying when you start reading a book thinking it is about one thing, only to discover it is about something else all together. This is especially true when what it turns out to be about is not something you are interested in reading. I thought the book, A Walk with Jane Austen by Lori Smith was about her travels in England, following in the footsteps of Jane Austen. Imagine my disappointment when it turned out to be a book about Lori's Smith search for the perfect Christian husband. It turns out she did not go to England so much to visit the places Jane Austen lived in and wrote about as to find a husband and evaluate her faith in God. Jane Austen really seemed to be an afterthought in this book. The first section of the book is all about a guy she meets in Oxford and falls in madly in love with even though she has only known him a few days. (She then later writes about how characters in Austen's novels fall in love and get married way to quickly.)
Besides being all about finding God and the perfect husband this book was depressing. The England that Smith wrote about is not appealing at all. Nowhere she went was pretty enough or charming enough. It all seemed to take too much effort and so she just didn't do it. "Sydney Place seems luxurious, as does most of Bath to me, but I was too tired to do more than venture into the edge of the park." (164) She never seems really that interested in actually doing anything, except maybe complaining that it is too cold to wear her fashionable or cute clothes. "Derbyshire sounds terribly romantic I think. If only I felt like going anywhere. I'm staying at a pub and it will probably smell." (177)
Smith's writing was not very coherent. I found myself asking who, what or where are we on several occasions. She just starts talking about people and I have to stop and figure out if I am supposed to know who she is talking about. "I met the dashing stranger from the stairs today." (41) What dashing stranger from what stairs? She starts one chapter talking about Exeter, then goes off on something about God for a few paragraphs and all the sudden she is sitting in Bath. Wait! I thought you were on a train going through Exeter? She goes back and forward in time over and over again in a most confusing manner.
By the end I was aggravated and frustrated by all the whining and complaining and a little concerned for this woman's sanity.
I was disappointed in this book and was pretty disappointed about being disappointed because I was really looking forward to this book. I was expecting a charming little book about England and Jane Austen. I found myself reading a rather depressing book about a single girl who wants a husband. And yes, I do get that Jane Austen's books were about women who were trying to get husbands too. Jane Austen managed to write in a much more charming, less depressing and more cohesive manner.