Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review of Among the Janeites by Deborah Yaffe

Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom
Deborah Yaffe
3/5 stars
I recieved this book from the Amazon Vine program in return for an honest review.

Review:
I was slightly disappointed in this, as I expected (despite the blurb) something more scholarly, lingering on the historical Austen fans, as well as the current fans.

It is what it claims to be, an entertaining investigation into a cross section of modern Jane Austen fans, mostly brought into the fandom through the movies and miniseries.

Yaffe breaks up the stories of other fans with stories of her own Austen experiences, and creates a lighthearted look at Miss Austen's current popularity. While it is enjoyable, I think other scholarly fans may join with me in feeling it to be almost irreverent, but that, too, shows how deeply Austen fans feel about her works.

Yaffe writes well, and it is an enjoyable and light read; don't expect it to be more than that, however.


Personal Note:
Okay, Amazon review over, I can be more honest. . .   I couldn't even finish this book.

I came to Austen 25+ years ago as a reader, not as a television/movie viewer.   I have little tolerance for people who "like a book", any book,  because they saw the movie version.  I will admit it.  I am a book snob and a purist (movies never do justice to books, and in my opinion if they aren't going to follow the book exactly, why bother), as well as a lay-historian who wrote my thesis around social history in the Regency period.  

This is a book with too many Janeites (a term being used in the early 1900's, which shows the longevity of her deserved popularity) that are fans due to Colin Firth in a wet shirt. . .  I was not interested in their story. Nor was I particularly interested in most of the other stories related or in Yaffe's humorous anecdotes regarding her Austen experiences.  

I am a rabid Austen fan, and will discuss plot points and character flaws with you for hours if you wish, but I guess I was just a bad match for this book, having no interest in popular culture and even less in treating Austen in a lighthearted fashion.  

If anyone would like to read this (because I assume that most of you are probably less snobbish than I am about novels), let me know and I'll gladly send it to you.

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