I thought this novel would be a former-English-major’s dream come true. Even though I managed to get through college and graduate school without reading more than one Jane Austen book (I’m more of a Flannery O’Connor fan myself) I was not blind to Austen’s influence and popularity. And I love to read about books!
I was less impressed with this novel about a group of people who spend a year reading the collected works of Jane Austen. Chapters were organized by month, but it felt jumpy, not smooth. I found myself flipping backward in the book more than a few times, to see where I had missed something, only to find that it wasn’t there in the first place. The narrator was a collective “we” and was very judgmental toward whichever character happened to be the group leader during that month.
Worse yet, I didn’t come away from this book wanting to read more Jane Austen! I think this is the first time that a Book About Books has failed to inspire me to read a book mentioned in its pages. And I won’t look for more by this author either. She had a wonderful opportunity here and she let it get away.