Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Confession time

I've been keeping a dark secret from all my female friends for years, and the time has arrived for me to come clean and admit my shortcomings.

I have never read a book by Jane Austen.


I have seen two films based on Jane Austen novels: Emma (the one with Gwyneth Paltrow) and Mansfield Park (I think that's the one). I have never seen ANY versions of Pride and Prejudice (okay, wait, I did see the LDS version that came out a few years ago, but I assume that one doesn't actually count).

I am a disgrace to womankind.

All this confession came about because my friend Nicola posted on her blog that Masterpiece Theatre on PBS has come out with several new film versions of Austen's novels and she and her sister are so excited they can hardly stand it. I want to be excited about it, too, because I'm a girl and that's what girls do, right? But I just can't seem to find it within myself to be interested at all. Maybe if I'd actually ever read any of the books I'd feel differently. I own several - Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Emma, Sense and Sensibility - and at least two of them are very nice leather-bound editions - all purchased because I carry this belief that in order to really be a girl you have to read Jane Austen novels. But I've never even cracked the covers. I just can't bring myself to do it. I think it's because I feel like I'm supposed to read it, and I hate reading books that I'm supposed to read.

So for all this time I've felt slightly guilty because I've been harboring this deep, dark secret that I'm not a completely normal female, i.e. I have never spent 12 hours on the couch crying over the relationship between Elizabeth and Mr....ummm...whatever his name is (I love Anne of Green Gables, though, and will happily spend all day watching that! That makes me a girl, right?) But I've decided now that this is okay with me. I have daughters, and they have friends who are girls, so at some point in my life I will probably watch Pride and Prejudice. I will probably even eventually decide to read one of the books gathering dust on my shelves, and then, like so many books that I've fought stubbornly against in the past, I will probably become hooked and read every other Jane Austen book I can get my hands on.

And I will probably do it in complete secrecy because I will have too much pride to admit that I've finally cracked.


  1. Allison, I tried to read Pride and Prejudice and got exactly two pages into it. To me, it was boring, archaic, and meaningless (All you Austen lovers out there can just save it) I know there are people that just adore Jane Austen...I am not, and will never be, one of them. So, don't feel bad or less of a girl if you haven't read or may not like Jane Austen. The movies are great and well worth the time, though especially when they have pretty people in them.
    As for Anne of Green Gables...I could watch those movies over and over and over and read the books over and over and over.
    Long comment...sorry.

  2. I feel like I've found a kindred spirit (they use that phrase in Anne of Green Gables and so using it totally makes me a girl). I'm just not interested in those books either. I just don't get into all that old-timey...British the beau in the sitting room stuff.
    And having three girls totally means could be HEAD of the "Girls Club". Really.

  3. And you said Vicki was an "Ebert" for her stubborness in what she would read?

    For the record while I have read many of her books and enjoyed them - I wouldn't count myself as a Jan Austin groupie. Most of the books have similar plot "poor smart girl marries rich man." That said I think that Pride and Prejudice is the best of the lot, well worth reading, and has some of the best lines in the English language. (That will keep you from reading it for another five years I'm sure.)

  4. LOL...All of the comments make me laugh. I have to admit that the books are hard to trudge through but they are worth the read. They are all a similar plot but if you know anything about Jane Austen you would probably understand why they were all written like that. But unlike the books the movies are wonderful. They are fun to watch and they get rid of all the dull stuff in the books. Maybe it has something to do with being a hopeless romantic, who knows.. (= The latest version of Pride and Prejudice (with Kiera Knightly in it) is a lot shorter and would be easier to watch to begin with. The Colin Firth one is something like 4 hours long. Anyway, they are worth watching. And I totally agree with you as far as the Anne of Green Gables movies/books. LOVE them all! Have you seen the last movie when they get married? Definitely not my favorite but you can't go wrong with the other ones...sorry long post.

  5. Allison,
    Your post is hilarious! I felt guilty as an English major when I hadn't read any of her novels. I have read some since college, and I do love Pride and Prejudice. I even got Jack to read it. It took him a while to get into it, but it then became part of the reason he wanted to name our daughter Elizabeth. However, it must be stated that Mr. Darcy, however dark and wonderful, is no Gilbert Blythe. I got after the YW at church because so many of them hadn't even heard of Anne of Green Gables! Outrageous!

  6. LOL! You guys are all true friends! Thanks for still loving me!

  7. I don't know what kind of world we are living in if the young women have never heard of Anne (spelt with an "e)! More than anything else this is indicative of the downfall of civilization.

  8. Geez, even I've seen "Pride and Prejudiced"--both versions!

  9. I read this post from your 100 list... I just watched Pride and Prejudice for the first time this year (Lindsey made me..) after swearing I would never watch it. I have never, and probably never will read Jane Austen, you are still my friend...Also, if you ever DO want to watch Pride and Prejudice, call me I would love another excuse to watch's awesome!


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