Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday=Book Review Time--Jane, Oh, Jane

Up for today:  BECOMING JANE AUSTEN by Jon Spence

Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Spence: Book Cover

Why I bought it? It should be no surprise to you by now that I love Jane Austen. My husband and I stopped by the BN to pick up a couple books for him. I was being strong and was not going to get anything for myself. I have a stack of books at home that I need to read and some friends' stories to critique, but when I walked by the display of Jane Austen books I was sucked in, and this one caught my eye because of the movie. I wanted the "real" story behind it. So much for my determination to leave the store with no book for myself.

Synopsis: This is the biography that inspired the movie Becoming Jane and the author was a consultant for the film. It focuses a lot on the impact her sister Cassandra, her brother Henry and his relationship with their cousin Eliza, and her possible romance with Tom Lafroy had on her stories. There is a lot of time spent on family history and Jane's interaction with different family members.

What I thought? This was a very well written and researched biography. There were times though that I thought Spence was forcing his assumptions on me. I enjoyed it pretty well, but Spence went on and on over certain details and skimmed others. (I thought he spent entirely too much time on the whole Eliza and Henry story. I realize it was important in JA's life, but not for the number of pages it got in the book. That section about stopped my reading. If you find yourself getting bogged down there just skim it and move on. Things pick up after that part.) I really enjoyed the interaction of Jane and Cassandra. Some of the details that were included there really enlightened her character. The detail that one of their niece's fianc√© called them "the formidables" was great. I could just picture the force they had in the family. I especially was interested in the relationship that she had with her nieces and nephews and how much she cared for those around her. 

My Rating: **** out of 5

Cleanness Score: 3 out of 10. There are details about affairs and things of that nature and people dying as would be expected in a biography from that time period. But it is all pretty tame. 

13 comments:

peace, love, and rock&roll said...

Love Jane Austen.
And I really love that she didn't marry Harris Bigg-Wither....could you imagine reading "The Complete Works of Jane Bigg-Wither"???
(It just doesn't have quite the same ring to it.) :)

lotusgirl said...

LOL! You crack me up.

JaneyV said...

Remarkable woman. Wasn't she only 42 when she died?

This sounds like something I'd really enjoy.
LOL at PLandR&A;R.

Litgirl01 said...

Thanks Lois! Does seeing the movie count? My reading list would reach from the top of the Empire State bldg to the ground. *sigh* Will I live long enough?

beth said...

Saw the movie--but have yet to read the book.

But the movie--OH! When James McAvoy whispers "Please"....


*melting*

Danyelle said...

I love Jane! I'll have to check this one out. :D

lotusgirl said...

Janey, I think she was 41. She died in July and would have been 42 in Dec. I think. She was a force to be reckoned with.

Litgirl, The movie was pretty good, but they took a lot of liberties.

beth, melting right along with you. Also the "Jane...no!" before she leaves. *sigh*

Danyelle, If you love JA, you'll enjoy.

PJ Hoover said...

Sounds like a great book, and as always, you did a great review!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Ha! I always tell myself I won't buy anything, but if I'm in a book store, please...of course I'm going to buy myself a book!

I loved Jane Austen in high school. I should read her books again. I still have my copies from then...

lotusgirl said...

Thanks, PJ.

Sherrie, Yeah, Me leaving bookless is pretty hopeless when I go into a bookstore.

giddymomof6 said...

I LOVE JANE TOO! Of course, you already knew that. I haven't read this book though--or Shannon Hale's Austenland (which I'm dying to read) so thanks for the review and update! You're awesome! Jenni

The Things We Carried said...

Looks like a good read. How can you go to a bookstore and NOT buy a book for your own pleasure?? I could not ever resist. books are my great weakness!

lotusgirl said...

Jenni, Really you love Jane? JK. I wish I'd come up with your project first, but alas... You're doing it much better than I could.

TTWC, Me too. You'll notice I didn't leave without a book. I was trying to restrain myself but did not succeed.