Book Review – The Jane Austen Guide to Life

The Jane Austen Guide to Life: Thoughtful Lessons for the Modern WomanThe Jane Austen Guide to Life: Thoughtful Lessons for the Modern Woman by Lori Smith
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

I thought I would really, really love this book, because I really, really love Jane Austen’s books. But I think it’s precisely that I am so familiar with her books that I didn’t really, really love this book.

Huh?

Okay, let me explain.

I have read her books. Some multiple times. I have seen the plays made from the books. I have seen the movies made from the books (again, some multiple times). I’m familiar with her books, her style of writing, the plot points, etc. I thought that this book would have more about Jane herself, from her correspondence and the like, than just rehashing plot points from her books. In that, I was disappointed. Probably 60 – 75% of the content in this book is re-hashing of plot points and characterizations from her books to make points on how the author must have felt about certain situations.

As a writer myself, I have to say this is not necessarily an accurate representation of an author’s thoughts, though in some cases it’s pretty obviously true.

That said, there is some content that was new to me, and I appreciated the way the author drew together instances from across Austen’s many books into different areas of thought, compiling a guide as to how to apply the lessons of society from her day into situations one might run across in the modern day. It covers areas such as family, friendship, proper behaviour in society,

men,

romance,

sex,

If you are super familiar with her books, there isn’t a lot of new content here. Just content you are familiar with in an unfamiliar presentation. If you are Austen obsessed, this still may appeal to you. If you are new to the Austen experience, this might actually help you understand how the books still relate today.

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