Thursday 28 January 2016

The Jane Austen Book Club // Review

I first read Karen Joy Fowler last year when my brother bought We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves for me for Christmas - I was head over heels in love with that book, so a few months later I bought The Jane Austen Book Club when Sam and I were in London. It's taken me a while to get around to reading it, but I have and so I'm reviewing it as a book from an author you love but haven't read yet. (click here for my book review challenge list...)

the jane austen book club karen joy fowler

Anyway, I had high hopes for this book but honestly, I was let down. I was just confused the whole time. I've still got no idea who the narrator is - it's about a group of six people who all love Jane Austen, and meet periodically to discuss her books one at a time. KJF writes absolutely beautifully, but (maybe naively) I didn't realise there would be SO much Austen in it. The bits that are about the book club members themselves are lovely, and made me want to know more about each character; but those parts were few and far between, and there was too much discussion of Austen's books, none of which I've actually read. It didn't make me want to read them, either.

It's written in first person, as if by all of the book club members - it's all 'we', and 'us', and it was never clear which of the six was guiding me through the book as they seemed to be an omniscient narrator, knowing stories from everyone's past despite admitting these stories were never told at the book club meetings. But still, like I said, these stories were lovely and my favourite parts of the book.

All of the characters were perfect - Allegra the arty sky-diving lesbian, her mum (recent divorcee, Sylvia) and her mum's BFF Jocelyn, curator of the book club. Bernadette, who's older and talks a lot; Prudie the high school French teacher; Grigg, the one male member of the book club who primarily reads science fiction. I'd love a book dedicated to the lives of each of them, because they're all fascinating and so delightfully described. But the book never felt whole, and I was promised affairs, and people falling in and out of love - there was one nod towards the affair, but no scandalous details which I would have appreciated.

I don't regret reading it but it certainly didn't live up KJF's previous offering - I have another of her books and I'll read + review that too, in the hopes that it will be better than this one!

Have you read The Jane Austen Book Club? What did you think?

1 comment:

  1. That sounds disappointing! I'm looking for a new book and I'll definitely look at Karen Joy Fowler for some inspo!

    Rachael at