Sunday, January 27, 2008

Book Tour: Jane Austen Book Club

For this month's Book Brigade we read The Jane Austen Book Club.

I liked the book, but I felt that there was more story there that needed to be explored, and while I liked most of the characters, I found myself wanting to know more of the back stories involved in making their character. All in all, I enjoyed the book, but was left feeling like I had only finished Part 1. The following are my answers to book club questions.

Which character in the Jane Austen Book Club did you most relate to? And what is your favorite Jane Austen novel and why?

I could really identify with Grigg, as my husband and I are science fiction geeks and we travel and go to conventions every year. I also felt like I could understand his “outsider” status very well, in a broad sense – the feeling of alienation and being outside the “norm” since junior high school. I was a tomboy and a geek, and I was always told to “act” more feminine, similar to Grigg's problems fitting in as male. In a more specific sense, I related to Grigg because of how "society" (his mother, father and sisters) was always trying to make him "right/normal". Being a woman dealing with Secondary Infertility in a Fertile World, I have come across many parts of society that does not know how to deal with infertility without trying to make it fit into the general societal model. I especially liked how Grigg ended up ignoring everyone to just be himself, no matter what that meant.

I have not read that many Jane Austen novels, although of the ones I have read, I would say "Pride and Predjudice". Mostly because I can relate to Elizabeth Bennett as the very headstrong woman (and I had a crush on Sir Laurence Olivier's Darcy--and then Colin Firth!). I like romantic comedies, and this is one of the classic ones.

When Corinne stole Allegra's stories, she both lied by omission as well as stole pieces of Allegra. Do you believe Allegra was more upset about the lie or the fact that someone stole her stories?

I think she was more upset that Corinne had stolen her stories, as she considered the stories to a part of herself that she gave to Corinne. It was an intimate and personal thing for her and for Corinne to then "share" those stories in such an open and impersonal medium...hurt her deeply. I am unsure why Allegra went back to Corinne, as Allegra showed often enough that she was stronger than that (although wanting attention--maybe that is why she went back to her?)

In one part of the book, Jocelyn and Sylvia were discussing happiness. One of them said that "Happiness in marriage is mostly luck..." What are your thoughts on happiness? Do you think that our happiness in life is mostly luck? Do we have some control over how happy we are?

I think that luck is a way for people to have some control over their perception of happiness. In other words, if things are not going well, people will say its just "bad luck" or "not fair" and when they have good things happen, its "good luck". Luck has little to do with true happiness. Everyone is given the life they are given. What they do with that life and the decisions they make, produce that happiness. One of the worst things we can do (and I do it too) is to compare one's happiness to another's. Some of the issues that bother women so much are ones in which we are comparing each others happiness (i.e. working mother vs. stay at home mother; infertile vs. fertile, etc.). While life is not always happy, I believe that most people can make their life worth living with a positive attitude about the life they have. "Luck" and "happiness" is what you make of it.

Intrigued by the idea of a book tour and want to read more about The Jane Austen Book Club? Hop along to more stops on the Barren Bitches Book Brigade by visiting the master list at Want to come along for the next tour? Sign up begins today for tour #10 (Embryo Culture by Beth Kohl with author participation!) and all are welcome to join along . All you need is a book and blog.


loribeth said...

I've been waiting (so far as I've read everyone's responses) for someone to comment on Grigg! I've never been much for science fiction, but I did read Ursula LeGuin's "Left Hand of Darkness" in university and enjoyed that, and I liked how Jocelyn & Grigg both expanded their horizons by reading books the other liked. Thanks for your comments!

Deb said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I like your answer for #3.

The Town Criers said...

I totally agree--I think it was more about the stealing than the lie. I also couldn't understand how they could get back together after that. But, then again, relationships do not always make sense :-)

The Dunn Family said...

I totally agree with you about happiness and luck. Happiness is something you can take control of in your life.

I also like your insight into Griggs. I just felt bad for him during so much of the book!

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