He Was Sitting Right on the Couch With Me, Enjoying Ms. Bennet and Mr. Darcy

BlogHer Review

I have an addiction. It’s not chocolate, wine, running or crossword puzzles.

It’s the Kiera Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice. I watch it on days when I want to escape the harsh realities of the day -- and on nights when I want to cuddle on the couch in my nightgown and enjoy a great story.

That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to read William Deresiewicz's A Jane Austen Education. I was going to see what this guy, this professor, thought about one of my favorite authors.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

I was a bit skeptical about what this book might be -- I was sure that I did not want to be lectured to, and I didn’t want to feel that I was sitting in a college auditorium listening to someone drone on and on about literature. But Deresiewicz didn’t bore me, and in fact, he inspired me to look at a story from many different angles, and perspectives.

He introduces us to his reluctance, his fascination, his distrust and his ultimate love of all that is Jane Austen, and he does it in a familiar and easy manner. We hold his hand on this journey, and experience all the emotions and discoveries that he makes along the way.

I applaud his honestly, his determination to understand this highly respected author, and his reflections on her most well-known work.

In the end, I took away with me an important observation about the one story that I loved. When thinking about Pride and Prejudice:

“You aren’t perfect. You are born with a whole novel’s worth of errors ahead of you. But making mistakes is the only way to grow up. Being right might get you a pat on the head, but being wrong can help you find out who you really are.”

For me, that is hitting the ball right out of the, well, the book.



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