Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined. 

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen;or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It's all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

So I decided I needed a fun book to read. After reading so many books about the Holocaust and such I thought I would try to lighten the mood just a little bit. Apparently that was a good idea seeing as my life has decided to be a mess of chaotic events lately too. Perfect time for a fun read, and this was a very fun read.

It was really fun to get into Jane's head. I am not going to lie, I thought she was absolutely pathetic. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love Pride and Prejudice and I think Austen is a great author, but she got so into the stories and so obsessed that she felt that the Colin Firth Mr. Darcy was all that there was. Barf. I just want to say it's nauseating that someone would get that obsessed with something and make it so that they could not live their own life. That's kind of what happened with Jane, but she had this goal of letting these thoughts go by letting herself become full on Austen.

Now I saw a huge flaw in her logic. Why try to rid yourself of all of this by putting yourself in Austen's world and finding Mr. Darcy? I felt like that would make it worse, but it made the story that much more entertaining. It was really interesting to see all the work that someone would have to go through in order to pretend to be of that time. She had to dress from the time period, talk like the time period, and every single activity that she involved herself in had to be of that time period. I found that I could not handle it. I guess that could be because it is currently 2012 and we have some advanced technology that I seem to have become accustomed to. No cell phone. No computer. No television. I do not think I could completely handle it at all, and Jane had a rough time with it.

Shannon Hale did an excellent job in getting me as a reader wrapped up in the story. The actors became super convincing even to me, to the point where I could not always tell who was acting and who was not. I loved trying to pick out what was and was not real, and was surprised to find that many of the things I thought were real were actually not and vice versa.  It was an easy read, and definitely lightened the mood from what I have read within the last few weeks. Nice job Shannon Hale. ha

Well, now I'm in that place where I do not know what to read next. I have really started to enjoy reading before bed, but I also cannot wait to get my hands on that new JK Rowling book which comes out tomorrow. Oh dear.

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