Sunday, March 29, 2009

A review, and an award

Austenland, by Shannon Hale

I was looking for something lighthearted after Handle With Care, and Mrs Dalloway.
But you know, something enjoyable to read. Unfortunately, Austenland didn't really live up to what I hoped it would be.

Jane, a 30-something New Yorker is obsessed with the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice _ and Colin Firth's Mr Darcy in particular. She believes it what keeps her from foring a real relationship, and so when an aunt leaves her a holiday to Austenland _ a kind of theme park/performance home stay in Britain _ Jane takes it to try and deal with the obsession once and for all.

And so begins nearly 200 pages of vague waffling. Honestly, if the book had been longer, I wouldn't have bothered finishing it. The only reason I did was because it only took a couple of hours.

And ... is it me? I seem to be saying "I don't get it" in my reviews an awful lot lately. But I don't get it. I mean, I kind of get the whole Colin Firth/Mr Darcy thing, but I got almost no sense of Jane at all. And Pembroke Park, where the Jane Austen experience happens?
Totally don't get it at all.

Actors fulfill roles of archetypes in Jane Austen novels, and provide a bit of a thrill for the holidaymakers _ usually women looking for their own Darcy.

Jane has a fling with a garderner, waffles over the Darcy character for a bit ... and goes home.

And I'm sorry, but STOP calling the author "Austen!!!!!!!!!!!" That really grated on me the whole time. Who refers to authors by their surnames? Really? Call her Jane Austen.

So two books in a row like that have made me a mite grumpy. I have now started The Adoration of Jenna Fox, and so far, so good.

Now for the award :)

Gavin at very kindly gave me this award, that I keep forgetting to blog about.

Here's the deal:
If you wish to spread the sisterhood spirit:
1) Post the award on your blog.
2) Remember to link to the person who gave you the award.
3) Give the award to up to ten women who show great attitude and/or gratitude.
4) Link their blogs to your post.
5) Let them know you have given them the award.

I'm touched, and I do love getting awards, and suchlike, but I really, truly suck at passing them on. But since I suck at passing these things on ... if you read here, consider yourself part of the sisterhood :)


jessi said...

Congrats on the award! And it's not just you: I found Austenland annoying as well. It was a great idea, but it wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be. That's why I gave my copy away. :)

Anonymous said...

*tentatively raises hand* I refer to authors by surname in my reviews. Not having read the book I can't say if has any contextual grounds, but calling authors (well-known people in general, actually) by their surname happens all the time. *pause* I may be reading too much into your paragraph, though...

I think I also know the feeling of 'I don't get it'. I've noticed saying it a lot in recent book reviews myself. Comes paired with the same question of 'is it me?' So no need to feel alone!

Hope you'll be able to continue to enjoy the book you're reading now!

Maree said...

Jessi: I'm glad it wasn't just me
libritouches: Come to think of it, I probably do the same thing. But I think I'd call Jane Austen by her full name, for some reason. I have no idea why.

Staci said...

Congrats on the Sisterhood Award. I liked Austenland but hey I love everything Austen!! LOL!!

Anonymous said...

My best guess would be that it's shorthand, possibly combined with a degree of formality, possibly even respect. Actually quite an interesting topic to think about! ^-^

Maree said...

libritouches: I was thinking about it this morning, actually, while waiting for the bus.
I routinely use author surnames in reviews, but if I'm just talking about them in general, I use their full names. I think what irritated me was the fact they called her Austen the whole time. The same thing got on my nerves when I watched The Jane Austen Book Club.
Reviews, however, seem to be the exception. :)