By Christine Guerrini
Jane Austen is everywhere. Her six novels are considered classics, read and reread for English classes or for simple pleasure.
Popular movies, books and television shows constantly base their plots around “Persuasion,” “Sense and Sensibility,” “Emma,” “Mansfield Park,” “Northanger Abbey” and, of course, “Pride and Prejudice.”
For example, the popular “Bridget Jones’ Diary” books and movies are a modern adaptation of “P&P.”
Ironically, Colin Firth, who plays Mark Darcy, also starred in a BBC version of the real “P&P.” Anywhere you turn, there is a little Jane Austen around.
One of the latest Austen-inspired novels takes a different spin.
Instead of simply mimicking the brilliant 19th-century authoress, Laurie Viera Rigler’s “Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict” lives and breathes Austen – literally. The story’s heroine, Courtney, is a self-professed Austen addict.
One day, after painful betrayals by both her fiancÃ© and best friend, she wakes up to find herself transported from her own life in New York to that of a 19th-century woman.
Her new persona is a somewhat tritely named Jane Mansfield, a 30-year-old single woman in the countryside.
At first, Courtney struggles against her environment, only to begin to lose herself in the fantasy world of her favorite novels.
The story follows Courtney – or Jane Mansfield – through a series of Austen-like romances and strange adventures; at one point, Courtney even runs into and speaks with Austen herself.
While Rigler’s tone and word choice in no way match Austen’s 19th-century lyricism, her writing will surely resonate with a 21st-century audience.
Rigler uses a balance of formal and informal speech, shifting from Courtney’s thoughts in current-day slang to the more rigid speech of those around her. She accurately translates the implications of every encounter so that readers may understand the large gap between societies.
A quick and easy read, “Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict” gears itself primarily to female readers. This may be especially helpful during the opcoming midterms week: Take a study break and read this book.