Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Book Review: Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, Grade: B

From Amazon.com:

Laurie Viera Rigler’s debut novel, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, was a hit with fans and critics, and a BookSense and Los Angeles Times bestseller. Its open-to-interpretation ending left readers begging for more—and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict delivers. While Confessions took twenty-first-century free spirit Courtney Stone into the social confines of Jane Austen’s era, Rude Awakenings tells the parallel story of Jane Mansfield, a gentleman’s daughter from Regency England who inexplicably awakens in Courtney’s overly wired and morally confused L.A. life.

For Jane, the modern world is not wholly disagreeable. Her apartment may be smaller than a dressing closet, but it is fitted up with lights that burn without candles, machines that wash bodies and clothes, and a glossy rectangle in which tiny people perform scenes from her favorite book, Pride and Prejudice. Granted, if she wants to travel she may have to drive a formidable metal carriage, but she may do so without a chaperone. And oh, what places she goes! Public assemblies that pulsate with pounding music. Unbound hair and unrestricted clothing. The freedom to say what she wants when she wants—even to men without a proper introduction.

Jane relishes the privacy, independence, even the power to earn her own money. But how is she to fathom her employer’s incomprehensible dictates about “syncing a BlackBerry” and “rolling a call”? How can she navigate a world in which entire publications are devoted to brides but flirting and kissing and even the sexual act itself raise no matrimonial expectations? Even more bewildering are the memories that are not her own. And the friend named Wes, who is as attractive and confusing to Jane as the man who broke her heart back home. It’s enough to make her wonder if she would be better off in her own time, where at least the rules are clear—that is, if returning is even an option.
My Review:

For my review on Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, which was her first book, click here.

I had a hard time with the philosophy of the previous book, but enjoyed the idea of traveling back in time and experiencing a new life and new time, especially around the time of Jane Austen. There remained quite a few unanswered questions and a lot of suspended belief by the end of the book, so I was really hoping for some final answers in her sequel.

So there were a few! But not as many as I was hoping for. Basically, my take is that we're all one and therefore can float between space and time, kind of a type of reincarnation. So Jane's spirit guide, the old woman, grants her her desire for her new life and her soul ends up in Courtney's body while Courtney heads to Jane's.

SPOILER ALERT


In the first book Courtney heard from others that Jane had talked about someone named Abraham Lincoln and that she had other ideas on what the future was to hold. How did she know since Jane never ends up back in her own time and vice versa for Courtney? We also learn that Courtney drew an exact likeness of Jane in her sketchbook before she ever set foot in the past. And their respective men we're also treated as different versions of the same man. So in an essence Jane and Courtney are one in the same. I just don't like that. I was hoping that Courtney and Jane could learn new things and ideas in these new times and lives in order to figure out how to make their actual lives better. I wanted them to get back to their own times and learn how to love their own lives with these new perspectives. It's too easy to stay where one is at than have to go back and face our real problems. I also didn't like the fact that Courtney, basically, had to forget who she really was so she could be comfortable with the past! She loses her whole identity about who she is and literally becomes Jane Mansfield...just reminds of brainwashing and I don't like that!

But there were important lessons to be learned, even though it didn't end how I wished. I wrote down a few great quotes from her book:

Even if a man who looks like a thief is, indeed, a thief, that is not the whole story. Only by stepping into his shoes can you begin to comprehend what made him a thief, and what else he is besides a thief, for we are not only just one thing, we are many...

Each of us has the power to create heaven or hell, right here, right now.

Time is fleeting, and few of us are fortunate enough to notice that there is always another chance at happiness.
So overall I enjoyed this book much better than her first and feel that I'm probably in the minority when it comes to how I see this philosophy so I do recommend both books for Jane Austen fans; this opinion just happens to be mine!

Part of the Everything Austen Challenge.

4 comments:

  1. I enjoyed the first book so I'll probably like this one too! You'e really coming along on the Austen challenge...me on the other hand not so much! I have like NOOO time...I WILL have one thing finished for this challenge by the end of the month!!!

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  2. You're on a roll with the Everything Austen Challenge! I've still got 5 of 12, but I'm also reading and watching other Austen things that I didn't include in the challenge (because I'd read and seen them before, or I just feel like doing extra...haha!).

    I enjoyed this book more than Confessions as well, but I still had unanswered questions. Another good quote from the book is, "But I do know that any place where there are six novels by the author of Pride and Prejudice must be a very special sort of heaven." :) I couldn't agree with Miss Mansfield more.

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  3. I love time travel books, but had a really hard time with the first one. There were just so many unanswered questions..I'm not sure I'll be able to read this. (Who am I kidding? I'll probably get to it eventually!)

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  4. I loved both books. I had a problem with the all the unanswered questions Confessions left me with, but I felt like Rude Awakenings resolved them all.

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