Title: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict
Author: Laurie Viera Rigler
Length: 288 pages
Year Published: 2007
Source: public library
After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?
Not only is Courtney stuck in another woman’s life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to fool even the most astute observer. But not even her level of Austen mania has prepared Courtney for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperones, condom-less seducers, and marriages of convenience.
This looking-glass Austen world is not without its charms, however. There are journeys to Bath and London, balls in the Assembly Rooms, and the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth, who may not be a familiar species of philanderer after all. But when Courtney’s borrowed brain serves up memories that are not her own, the ultimate identity crisis ensues. Will she ever get her real life back, and does she even want to?
Reason for Reading: I am also a “Jane Austen Addict”, so I thought this would be an interesting read. And, I once tried to read Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, which, as I understand is supposed to be the exact opposite of this. (Meaning in this book, Courtney ended up in Jane’s body and in Rude Awakenings, Jane ends up in Courtney’s.) But I didn’t like Rude Awakenings, from what I read of it, and I thought that maybe this one, being the complete opposite, would be better.
My Thoughts: Well, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict wasn’t better. But it was interesting enough for me to finish it. I’m not saying that I dragged myself through this one just for the sake of reading it. But I assumed the ending would be better and resolve why Courtney was in Jane’s body and that Courtney would end up in her own body–well, you know what happens when you assume.
Okay. There was pretty much only one thing about this book that I liked, and that was a 21st-century girl waking up in a body in 1813 England. Courtney had no idea how or why she was stuck in Jane Mansfield’s body, but she didn’t know how to get back to her own body in 2000s LA. But Courtney was slightly schooled in Regency England because she’s a JA addict. I was motivated to finish the lackluster story because I wanted to know how she got back to her own body and how she resolved issues there–but there was no such ending. I had an idea of what I thought the ending would be, but the ending greatly lacked in an resolution. Perhaps Courtney’s ending lies at the end of Rude Awakenings as Jane’s ending actually lied at the end of Confessions. And even that ending was weird, making it really confusing to know if it was indeed Jane or Courtney in Jane’s body and if the switch was “real” or more a dream.
There were other things I didn’t like 😦
1) There was a general lack of JA-addictedness. Yes, Courtney loved the books and movies and reread and watched them obsessively. But I don’t consider that to be an addict. I mean, I know I said in my post about the JASNA journal Persuasions that I don’t like to analyze Austen too much. But to not analyze her at all and to just read her books over and over again and not really take much away from them is a bad “addict”.
2) There is a “scene” when Courtney-in-Jane’s-body meets Jane Austen in London amongst the shops. But the way Courtney acted upon this meeting made the whole scene ABSURD! I mean, I don’t think that trying to explain what movies are and what books that she will write in her future–at the time the novel is set, only P&P and S&S have been published–is a good idea. And just the general star-struck manner that Courtney acted in, it made the scene seem like Rigler tried way too hard to make that meeting interesting.
A Favorite Quote:
“That’s the thing about movies. Nothing is left up to the imagination. You read a book, and you see a picture of the characters and the scenes in your mind. You don’t have that with a movie. It’s all either up there on the screen laid out for you, or it isn’t there at all.”