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3.7 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-8 of 8 reviews(1 star)show all reviews
on June 28, 2004
I made the mistake of buying this novel on a whim at a local bookshop. Usually I read several reviews before investing in an author I haven't read before, but in this case I was drawn in by the Jane Austen references and by the many, many positive jacket blurbs from well-known writers.
Karen Joy Fowler must be a really nice person and/or a huge producer of blurbs that had to be repaid. I can't imagine any other reason why excellent writers would risk their reputations in recommending such a mediocre work.
Fowler is far from being a modern Jane Austen. Her characters are poorly developed. The plotting is poor. Overall this is just not an interesting or appealing book.
If you love Jane Austen as I do, you may find yourself appalled that her name is associated with this dreck.
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This may well have been the worst book I ever read. The premise is interesting, and it could have been a great book, but Fowler's writing style is obnoxious. Her incorrect overuse of commas makes the book difficult to read. Her third person/first person game is annoying as well. Did anyone edit this book? The authors who attached their names to the blurbs must have owed Fowler a favor. Quite often the publisher writes the blurbs, and the author's select the one to which their name will be attached. They may have not even read the book, just a synopsis. I think the publisher and the author knew that a book with Jane Austen in the title would sell, and they didn't care much about the quality of the book.
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on July 6, 2004
Yes, I too was lured in by the many sterling reveiws on the cover of this book. The old adage of not judging a book by its cover holds true for this one. The premise was promising: the book club meeting to discuss each of Jane Austen's six books. The development of the characters was so thin; they were almost like vapor. To me, the author seemed to have this great idea and then didn't follow through. In the hands of someone else this could have been a meaningful book. I finished the book, not because I wanted to, but on principle. I will be disinclined to read anything else by this author.
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on May 3, 2004
This was hardly the page turner I expected from the reviews of this book..(Obviously friends and family of the author) A fan of Jane Austen, this book doesn't begin to even compare...Slim characters and a slimmer story line...with references to the great works written by Austen. Don't be fooled by the title (as I was) This book is on sale for a reason. Save your time.
I want my money back..
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What a disappointment... chick-lit wrapped in literary pretense.
Thin characters, thin dialogue, thin book --- more than a novella, not quite a novel.
Only 250 of the short pages are story. The additional pages have quotes about Jane Austen and synopses of her novels.
I'm going back to Jane Austen and Barbara Pym....
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on June 26, 2004
This is a trite book with barely a plot and minimal character development. As a Jane Austen fan, I am horrified that this awful book was able to misuse Jane Austen's name in order to sell books.
The concept was brilliant, but the execution was very poor. Count me amongst the highly disappointed.
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on May 22, 2004
The premise was cute, a novel based on the lives of members of a Jane Austen bookclub. But the book itself is thin, with little plot and ordinary characters.
Better to spend the time reading or re-reading the real and wonderful Jane Austen.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2004
WARNING TO ALL JANE AUSTEN FANS! WARNING TO ALL JANE AUSTEN FANS! DO NOT--I REPEAT--DO NOT BUY THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB. It is a ruse. The author is using the popularity of Jane Austen to sell her book but believe me, she is not a true fan. The author obviously understands rudimentary Jane Austen but she lacks the ability to bring Jane's subtle observations into her inane dialog and 2-dimensional characters.
The author makes fun of Jane Austen throughout the book in subtle ways. This is evidenced in one way by a scene in which one of the characters defends the fact that Jane Austen does INDEED HAVE GOOD PLOTS! Of course this author thought she could write a book without a plot--as she "sees Jane Austen doing"--and come out with a best-selling book. I am sad to say that is exactly what has happened, thanks to a "glowing" book review in the New York Times and people loving Jane Austen and being duped. It is not clever or funny or witty in any way. It is slow and plodding and so boring, you wonder why you keep on reading it.

The first few chapters have some promise of linking us to Jane Austen--but that is minimal and then in the following chapters, it peters out to nothing. When I read the author's synopsis of each book discussed by the book club, it was clear to me that the author did not like Jane Austen. "One boring character marries another boring character" is typical of her summaries. This author is duplicitous and would not know good writing if it jumped up and bit her on her butt. Not only does the artistry in her writing suck but her ability to accurately use the English language sucks. She uses the word "effect" when she should have used the word "affect". Minor point--but still--how does someone like this get published and given a good review from the New York Times? AMAZING!!!
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