Review of “Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict” by Laurie Viera Rigler

Courtney Stone, a devoted Jane Austen fan, wakes up one day to find herself in 19th Century England, in the body of Jane Mansfield, a young lady living a life right out of an Austen novel. At first convinced it’s a dream, and then realizing she’s not going to wake up from it anytime soon, she settles into the world of Jane Austen, and fights off bacteria, suitors, ennui, and feminist outrage while she’s at it.

1

It starts off so well, but quickly became a bit tiresome for me. Courtney gives Obsessive/Compulsives a good name as she blathers on and on about why am I here? and how can I get back?:

“So what will become of who I really am? What will become of that bundle of memories called Courtney, my real self that resides, hidden from view, inside this body? Will I/it slowly disappear, inexorably surrender to the onslaught of synaptic activities, the cumulative effect of cellular memory that is now evolving into conscious thought?”

And so on, ad infinitum. Slap! Slap! I imagine myself doing, as I cry out: Get over it! As the fortune-teller she meets says, “be where you are!”

The book is not all that painful, thankfully. Some of it is quite insightful and humorous, as when Courtney/Jane cogitates about blind dates:

“In fact, I spent many hours afterward depressed because some colorless twit seemed to want to end the evening as quickly as I did. After all, what kind of a loser couldn’t even captivate a colorless twit?”

She goes on:

“Blind dates and setups of all kinds are completely useless, I long ago decided. Most intelligent men and women like to go forth into the world and stalk their own prey, choose their own mirrors of dysfunction, and repeat their own patterns of abusive relationships, without the well-meaning but futile efforts of friends.”

Clever. Funny. And the description of England in Jane Austen’s time likewise is often clever and funny. But there’s a bit too much angst, and the ending might cause one to throw the book down and shout READER BETRAYAL!

There is a sequel: Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, although I’ve heard rumors that the ending of the first book still goes unresolved. Nevertheless, I’ll pick it up if it crosses my path; even a frustrating flirtation with Jane Austen’s world is worth a quick read like this one.

Evaluation: The beginning and ending drove me a bit crazy, but I liked the middle enough that I will look for the sequel.

Rating: 3/5

Published by Dutton, 2007

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17 Responses to Review of “Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict” by Laurie Viera Rigler

  1. I like the plot line of this story. Too bad the author/editor couldn’t do something about the beginning and the end. I like most of the Jane Austen knock-offs and if this one is sitting at the library I will probably check it out. But I don’t think I’ll buy or go searching for it.

  2. I felt the same way with this book! There were parts I really liked, and others that made me scream “come on already1”

  3. Ceri says:

    I’d like to read this 🙂 It sounds like a good easy read when you want to turn your brain off. I have to say, though, I’m kind of glad there is a whole ‘why am I here? and how can I get back’ motif – So many films and books have characters who just happily settle into their strange environment so quickly – at least panicking is a little realistic.

    You wrote a really great review 🙂

  4. Toni Gomez says:

    I have been wanting to read this one for quite sometime. Thanks for the review. I like the whole premise of the book.

  5. Amy says:

    Thanks for the review. It sounds like good brain candy even with the uneven start and finish.

  6. Bumbles says:

    I haven’t read the real Jane Austen so therefore I am not pulled in to the recent trend of adapting her stories or modernized attempts. That bandwagon is rolling right on by me! Some day I will get to the original classics.

  7. Bookjourney says:

    The jury is still out for me on these new Austen books. I long to read them… sort of… but I am still working my way through the originals. 🙂

  8. Steph says:

    The premise reminds me a lot of this BBC series (which you can now rent on DVD here in North America) called “Lost in Austen”, which features a modern-day woman changing places with Lizzie Bennett. It might be something you’d like!
    I don’t think I’ve read any of these modern-day Jane Austen books, mostly because over the past few years I’ve been drifting away from chick-lit type reads. This might be one for me to borrow from the library when I’m feeling in the need for brain candy!

  9. Alyce says:

    Thanks for the informative review! I’ve got this one on my shelf waiting to be read, and I’m sure I will probably be annoyed at the same parts. I’m still looking forward to giving it a chance though because I like Austen books and stories where people are displaced in time.

  10. bermudaonion says:

    If the book is half as good as your review, it will be worth reading. I won this one and Rude Awakenings from Stephanie.

  11. Staci says:

    I liked the first one a lot better than the sequel!! You should write a book because I love to read your reviews!!!

  12. Rebecca says:

    I just got this and Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict in the mail from a giveaway and I am so psyched! I can’t wait to dive in. I might even put my books-i-totally-need-to-read on hold to read these!

  13. Kelly says:

    Sounds cool, but I think I’ll wait to see if you like the sequel any better before I get hooked on the story myself!

    I love that you give ratings in your reviews, btw. 🙂 Makes it easy to prioritize whether to add to my TBR list!

  14. Megan says:

    I can definitely say I agree with you about all the angst — the bevy of questions got really old really fast for me! Still, I really liked this book — and loved the parallel story, Rude Awakenings…, even more. Without spoiling anything, I think many of the questions you have about the first book might be a bit clearer after reading the sequel… but I hate having to pick up another book in order to understand the first! That’s just a reader quirk of mine. 🙂

  15. I’m not much of one for spin-offs but I do have this one on my list for the everything Austen challenge.

  16. Pingback: Review of “Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict” by Laurie Viera Rigler « Rhapsody in Books Weblog

  17. Pingback: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler « The Sleepless Reader

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