Thursday, December 27, 2007


So, this is all a Jane Austen-y post. But in YA land.

Did you know that Shannon Hale is having a Princess Contest? Time is running out (it's one of those things that require thinking and entries are due on Monday!) (This is totally relevant because she wrote the chocolate cake of book Austenland: A Novel which is NOT a Jane Austen wannabe book (so please, don't judge it as such) but a fun little romp about those of us with an unhealthy Jane obsession. Or rather, an unhealthy Colin Firth obsession.

Another fun book about unhealthy Jane obsessions?

Enthusiasm Polly Shulman

Julie's best friend, Ashleigh, is an enthusiast. When she becomes interested in something, it goes a little overboard. So, when Ashleigh decides to become obsessed with Jane Austen? Julie sees her high school career ending up in the toilet. Ashleigh is speaking rather properly now and refuses to "bare her lower extremities" aka show her ankles. Or wear trousers. Oiy.

To top it off, in order to find her own Mr. Darcy, Ashleigh has decided to crash the fall formal of the snooty boys school up the road. Not only does Julie thinks this is an awful idea, she can't help but wonder why Ashleigh gets Darcy and she's stuck with the perfectly fine, but a bit boring, Mr. Bingley.

Of course, at the dance, they both find Mr. Right and an unfortunate communication error means Ashleigh claims him first. Ashleigh would never move in on a guy Julie likes, so Julie stays mum, her heart breaking.

Meanwhile there is the school musical, other friends, extra-curriculars, a boy who can't take a hint, mysterious poetry, and messed up step-families.

NOT a Jane Austen wannabe, but a fun romantic romp about friendship, high school, and boys, and an overbearing best friend whose heart is completely in the right place.

A big thank you to Tiny Little Librarian for the recommendation!

One that was not done so well is

The Dashwood Sisters' Secrets of Love Rosie Rushton

This is a retelling of Sense and Sensibility set in modern day England

It was light and airy and fun, but not nearly as lovely as the original. I think I would have liked it more if I wasn't familiar with the source material.

Now, I like some remakes... Clueless was a wonderful look at Emma. It made fun of itself.

Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason? Really well thought out and hilarious takes on Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion (the worst part about the movies was that they stripped out a lot of the parallels.)

The adaptions that work work because (a) They know what they are and are able to stretch the story within those confines (b) Are hysterical. They also, in their own way, (c) Retained a bit of the subtle commentary on society.

Dashwood Sisters' Secrets of Love is lukewarm. It is so strictly worried about faithfulness to the original material that it doesn't add anything to the story. If you're not going to add, then why retell?

If you've never read Sense and Sensibility then this would be a fine, if not memorable, teenage brit chick lit about girls dealing with divorce, a new town, and boys. It strips away the commentary.

Read the original. Skip this. Unless, you have to read Sense and Sensibility for school and totally don't understand it and have access to this and not access to the movie. This book won't help you pass the test, but if you read it first and then go back to the Austen, you might understand the basic plot of the Austen a little more.

Oh, and completely unrelated, here's a great site for wasting some time and learning your geography-- check out all the challenges.


Susan said...

mmmm. right up my alley. i love you Mr. Darcy. i love you Colin. *drool*

Julie said...

I also read Enthusiasm this month and enjoyed it more than I expected to! I thought it started slow but then really rolled along once the enthusiasm turned toward the play rehearsals. I loved the mysterious notes!

Did you know Masterpiece Theatre is showing all 6 Jane Austen movies in 2008? And Jane Eyre airs this Sunday night (part 1).

Jennie said...

Susan-- mmmmm... Colin... also, I'm a little under halfway through Tamar. It's WONDERFUL!

Julie-- I'm glad you liked it. I did NOT know that PBS was giving me my Jane fix! Thanks for the heads up--My TiVo and I are going to have a little chat about that!

Susan said...

hmm. are the DC pbs's playing this masterpiece theatre series? I can only find that the Richmond station (23) has it on its schedule...and I don't think we can pick that station up?? 26 doesn't seem to have it on the schedule. please tell me I am wrong, I want my Jane Austen fix.