Thursday, August 13, 2009

Second Look: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

Title: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict
Author: Laurie Viera Rigler
Genre: Fiction
Published: 2007
Date Finished: 5 August 2009
My Rating: 3 Stars
Challenges: 100+, Library, Everything Austen

This is actually the second time I have read this and I have to say I think I enjoyed it more this time around. The first time I read it I was still in a up all night feeding my baby sleep deprived mode, so that might have something to do with my original dislike and confusion (Now I am just in a exhausted from being 8 months pregnant stage). While I still don't consider this a great work I did find myself a little more caught up in the story during my second reading.
There is a lot of Jane Austen fanfic out on the market these days. A lot! And lets face it, a lot of it, I'd wager to say the vast majority of it, is tripe. What I like about Rigler's contribution to the genre is that it is not a continuation of Austen's creations but contains an original character. This is no Elizabeth and Darcy marriage saga, nothing about Mr. Darcy's point of view and no attempt to gather all the characters from all six of Jane Austen's novels into one story. Aside from a sad, as in pathetic, encounter with Miss Austen herself this book does not really have much to do with Jane Austen or her novels. (The title is rather misleading in my opinion, a Jane Austen addict, yes, but where are the confessions?)
Courtney Stone, a self professed Jane Austen addict, wakes up one morning, after being drunk the night before, in the body and life of Jane Mansfield, a woman living in Regency England. Courtney must now learn to maneuver through a life that is not her own and that she has no memory of.
I could be really nit-picky with this about the things that bothered me about this book, and there were plenty but I am going to refrain. This was a quick and mostly fun read which is kinda what I could use right now.
I read this the first time in my pre-blogging days but was already using Goodreads. Here are my thoughts, as posted on Goodreads, after reading it the first time:

The book did not hook me at all. It was a quick read but not an “I can’t put it down” read. I felt it took too long for anything to really happen. There was too much “Why I am here? How do I get back? Ok. I accept that I am here.” And then back to the “why am I here” etc etc. I kept waiting for something to actually happen. I felt like the author kept introducing ideas and plot points that could have been interesting but then never developed them. Like the journal with the names written over and over again and Jane telling James about Abraham Lincoln and Rosa Parks. About half way through things started to pick up but then just slowed down again.

I did find the meeting with Jane Austen comical if not a bit odd. If you had the chance to actually meet Jane Austen would you really go off about movie adaptations and other things that Austen would have no idea about?
The biggest disappointment was the ending. What happened? Did Courtney wake up in LA without time passing? Had Jane inhabited Courtney’s life while Courtney inhabited Jane’s? How did Jane know about Abraham Lincoln etc? When/where had she learned these things? So much left unexplored or explained.
My favorite part of the book was the start of chapter 14 when Courtney describes why she reads and re-reads Jane Austen."There is comfort in the familiarity of it all, in the knowledge that it will all turn out well..." That is exactly how I feel about reading Jane Austen.

Like I said, I think I enjoyed it a little more this time and was all around less critical. Although many of the same things did stick out as being left unsaid or resolved. All the same, a light hearted romantic little story with some allusions to Jane Austen thrown in. One of the better Jane Austen fanfic books I have read.
So why did I re-read it? Because I am about to read the sequel and did not really remember much about the first one and wanted a refresher. I am hoping Rude Awakenings will answer some of the questions left behind from the first book.


kay - Infinite Shelf said...

I did the same as you, and re-read this one before reading Rude Awakenings. And like you, I liked it better the second time around - mainly because this time I knew there would be a second book with, hopefully, a few answers.

I read Rude Awakenings and loved it so much more! It was light and fun, and you'll get most answers in this book! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

Lit and Life said...

I'm with you on the "tripe" that is the sequel-type books that are flooding the market. I heard the author doing a reading at Google and wasn't impressed with the writing but I was willing to give it a chance. But, maybe not!

Serena said...

this sounds like a fun book. I'll have to check it out some time.

hmsgofita said...

I did not like this book. It felt like she just accepted that she was there for good and that somehow her and Jane were one and somehow could come and go between each other's lives. The philosophy just bugged me. I'm me and no one else is me...I hated how she kept comparing edgeworth and wes like they're the same was weird and i'm having a hard time with the second book...i'm almost halfway through, though.

Shannon said...

I liked this book well enough... I agree it was not one that I couldn't put down. And the ending left me with a lot of unanswered questions...

So I'm glad to see there's a sequel! Haven't read it yet, but hopefully some of my questions will be answered!

Kim said...

I thought this book was okay but not great. I found myself a little bored and didn't care very much about Courtney. It wasn't bad though and I do want to read "Rude Awakenings".

Joy said...

I just picked the cd or book on cd of this up at the library today. I have heard good things about it.
Glad to see you agree.