Thursday, July 30, 2009
Review: Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict
Last year, I read CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT by Laurie Viera Rigler. I thought it was just a great book — you can read my review here. I knew at the time that Ms. Rigler was already working on a sequel, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting the book’s release for months. I am so excited to say that RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT is now available and it’s just a good, if not better, than the first book (in my humble opinion!)
I guess RUDE AWAKENINGS is technically a sequel, but it is really more like a story that occurs simultaneously — now I’ve totally confused you because CONFESSIONS took place in 19th century England while RUDE AWAKENINGS takes place in modern day Los Angeles. Suffice it to say that there is some time travel involved. One thing that I liked about Ms. Rigler’s latest novel is that the stories actually came together for me. CONFESSIONS had an ending that was purposely left open for the reader’s interpretation. When I read RUDE AWAKENINGS, I felt as if some things were clarified. After reading both books, I certainly think they can stand alone; but I highly recommend reading both books. And if you can read them in order, all the better. I loved all the little references in RUDE AWAKENINGS about things that occurred in CONFESSIONS; and I just felt like I had a little bit of insider information by reading both of them.
While I most definitely enjoyed CONFESSIONS, I think one of the reasons that I liked RUDE AWAKENINGS more was because it took place in Los Angeles in the present. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how Jane saw our modern times with her nineteenth-century eyes. There were so many very funny scenes where Jane tried to figure out computers, cell phones, dance clubs, automobiles, etc. I loved all of her dealings with our modern lifestyles, and I found a few of her comments to be rather insightful — they actually made me assess some of what I take for granted.
RUDE AWAKENINGS is a light, fun read; however, this book does delve into some serious issues — I wasn’t really expecting to think quite so much when I picked up this novel (I mean that in an entirely good way.) I loved Jane/Courtney and everything she symbolized about young women in today’s society. When Jane “arrives” in present day, she is suddenly faced with everything she had hoped for back in England — her own house, her own job, and even her independence — but her new life wasn’t without complications. Even though Jane’s adjustment was especially drastic (she was living as another woman in the future), she still faced many of the exact same issues that women do when they leave home and begin life on their own. In addition, I thought Jane/Courtney’s relationship woes were similar to many women’s relationship problems with men. Her ability to work through these issues and make intelligent decisions that were best for her is a lesson that almost every young woman needs to hear.
I totally think RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT would make a wonderful book club pick. In fact if your group is feeling ambitious, why not pair both CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT with RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT; or read one of Ms. Rigler’s books in concert with an actual Jane Austen novel. There is a reading guide available to help facilitate your discussion, and Ms. Rigler is even available to phone in to your meeting to talk about her books.
Thanks to the author and publisher for sending me a copy of this novel.
Posted by Julie P. at 3:21 AM