Monday, February 17, 2014

Austenland - Shannon Hale

I broke down and read this book. I really want to see the movie and the book is obviously a mandatory prerequisite. 

Somewhere, in my stone cold heart, there must still be a tiny corner for chick flicks. They had free reign when I was in high school, but, after a couple of major heartbreaks, they have taken a back seat to anything dark and complicated. I love a good tragedy. Atonement is one of my desert island movies. 

Does that mean I need therapy?

Since I met Kevin, however, he has slowly been opening me back up to the lighter side of life. I hadn't cried for two years when we started dating and now I cry at every freaking proposal video on the internet. I'm even starting to like stuff like chick lit a little bit again. Thanks a bunch, babe. Runny mascara is the best and you've brought that back into my life.

How did a post about chick lit get so deep and sarcastic so fast? This is not ok...

All that to say, Austenland looks fun. Who doesn't like Keri Russell? Plus, it stars Jennifer Coolidge and Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Concords. That's comic gold right there with a heroine just sweet enough to warm your heart a bit, too. 

I cannot pass judgement on the movie just yet. Netflix will deliver it soon enough and a Movie Monday will undoubtedly follow. The book, however, I have conquered and have some opinions about. I mean, otherwise I would not be writing this, right?
I think after seeing the trailer for the movie, I was expecting something a bit more tongue in cheek. Just from viewing the trailer, I know that the film greatly exaggerates some of the plot, turning it bit more comic and bit less romance. I'll know for sure once I see the movie, but I think it leans further toward satire than chick flick. I could be wrong, though. Movie trailers are deceiving.

The book. Let's talk about the book, not the movie.

The book tells the story of a lonely New Yorker who secretly fantasizes of having a Darcy-like man in her life. When Jane's great-aunt passes, she leaves her an odd inheritance: an all-expenses paid trip to "Austenland," an English countryside resort that specializes in recreating Regency-era romance.

Jane seems to be an unconventional customer for the resort, particularly in financial matters. She approaches the three weeks away from real life differently than the other women. The book has a few surprises, although nothing truly shocking.

My favorite part of the book actually were the brief segments before each chapter. Each one gives the reader a brief look into one of Jane's past relationships and why it failed. Those little inserts really did a lot for understanding her character's history and her development.

Overall, the book was pretty classic chick lit. I enjoyed the first part the most, when it seemed that Jane was going to be more of an nontraditional heroine for this type of book. Turns out, she got the saccharine ending of most romantic protagonists. I think Hale could have risen above this, but I had to remind myself that her target audience is Austen-lovers. This is the ending they want.

If you are an Austen fan or like this kind of thing, by all means, read the book. I think it is of a slightly higher quality than most of its type. If you prefer a bit more sarcasm in your romance, feel free to join me for the movie. We can only hope it brings a little savory flavor to the sugary sweet story.

Pages: 197
Date Completed: January 24, 2014

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