Last night was the monthly meet-up (via Ventrillo) of my book club, Books, Booze & Bajingos. Here is the run down.
This month’s book was The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James. This falls into the realm of historical fiction. Syrie James writes as though someone has found the journals of Jane Austen and imagines a life for her in which there are events in that greatly influence and inspire the novels that have become timeless.
Overall, the group had issues with this book. We were all pretty much in agreement so instead of breaking it down by who said what, here’s just an overall Pros and Cons:
CONS: This book felt like a fanfic. Someone who loved the novels of Jane Austen, took from her novels and worked them into a book about Jane Austen. Like, someone really wanted Mr. Darcy to be real, so the made up a person that Jane Austen would have based him on. Also, Maile put it best, but Jane Austen’s behavior at being “friend-zoned” at one part in the book was a bit (lot) much. Also, we all felt that the ending could have been different. The resolution, that we all knew had to happen in some form, could have been different and given more depth to Austen.
PROS: For me, personally, I hate reading Jane Austen. I LOVE the adaptations of her novels, but I find the books themselves to be tedious and boring (as I put it last night, they are all “someone goes in a room, looks around, and leaves” for the entire book). However, I feel that if Syrie James were to just write adaptions of Austen’s novels, I’d read them. This book was meant to be written as though Miss Austen wrote them, but I found Ms. James’ version of that style much more modern, but not in an off putting manner. We all agreed that she spent just the right amount of page space describing details of the day-to-day life and activities (unlike Austen, who would write a freakin’ chapter just about cross-stitching by the fire).
Overall, it’s not bad, and if you need an Austen-fix, this might do it for you, maybe. Jessie, who picked this book, didn’t even finish it. I came close to not finishing it, but did yesterday morning. I will say, it picks up in the last hundred pages.
For August, it is Laura’s turn to pick.
Her pick is:
I’ve already read this book, but the rest of the group hasn’t. It is one of my all-time favorite books, so I’m excited to hear what the group thinks of it.