One new voicemail from Jane Fairfax
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(from “Emma” in Texts From Jane Eyre)
Quick summary: Texts From Jane Eyre imagines text message conversations from famous literary characters, books, and authors, both classic and contemporary works. These include Pride and Prejudice, Emma, The Hunger Games, The Lorax, Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson, and even the Sweet Valley High and The Baby-Sitters Club series. It’s a fairly short book comprised of alternating text message boxes between the sender and the recipient, and readers could easily breeze through it in an hour or two.
Why I wanted to read it: I thought the premise was creative.
What I liked: Mallory Ortberg covers a lot of ground in Texts From Jane Eyre, so there’s something for everyone within these pages. I was happy to see a couple of Jane Austen novels represented, and I appreciated the inclusion of both poetry and prose.
What I disliked: The premise of the book is clever, but I found myself skipping over the text messages from the works and authors I haven’t read because I didn’t get the jokes. However, even when I was reading about a book, poem, or author with which I was familiar, I didn’t find the texts all that funny. Some were mildly amusing, but there were few chuckle-out-loud moments for me, which was disappointing.
Final thoughts: Texts From Jane Eyre has an intriguing premise, but the execution just didn’t work for me. However, Ortberg deserves praise for taking on an ambitious project that includes a wide swath of the literary world, poking fun at works that were assigned reading in school, as well as those that were guilty pleasures at home.
Disclosure: I received Texts From Jane Eyre from Henry Holt for review.
© 2014 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.