Thursday, September 01, 2005

Recently Read

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

A quick, easy read, nothing too life-changing. I enjoyed it because I am a Jane Austen fan and I find that not only can I read Jane Austen's six novels over and over again, but I also enjoy reading anything written about these same six novels. What is it about Jane Austen? It's also kind of fun to find all the different parallels between characters in Fowler's book and in Austen's novels. Two of the characters, who finally get together at the end, actually play out famous Austen courtship scenes in almost every chapter, which is fun to watch for.

False Memory by Dean Koontz

Entertaining- interesting premise. If you're a Koontz fan, though, you'll recognize the story's villain, Dr. Mark Ahriman, because he's basically the same cold-blooded, power hungry serial killer by night/upstanding citizen by day character who has terrorized the pages of many other Koontz books such as Intensity, Hideaway, and Whispers, to name just a few. It was an interesting and viscerally frightening character at first, but now it's just getting old.

The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Banks

This was a nice little piece of chick lit. There's good chick lit and then there's chick lit so awful I can't even get through it. This was good, although the narrator was of course a size 10 brunette, raised in the suburbs by loving parents, who loves literature, is quirky and "funny" and always messes up her love life. GAG! The chick lit genre has spawned so many of these characters that it'd almost be refreshing to pick up an old Sweet Valley High paperback. All the Jones clones make me long for those leggy twins, Elizabeth and Jessica with their identical cascades of California blond hair, cute dimples, and matching gold lavaliers- and who could forget their Fiat convertible.

Where was I? Lost in seventh grade memories.

Anyhow, Girls Guide is all right, much better than most of the chick lit out there, but there were these random chapters thrown in that didn't go with the rest of the story. The entire story is about a plain Jane named Jane and her journey from adolescence to adulthood. Cool. But there's one chapter toward the middle told from the point of view of a mother who lives downstairs from Jane and it's all about her family and how her son got two girls pregnant at once. So I thought maybe the son would work his way into the story eventually, maybe even enter into Jane's love life, but no. Nothing like that happened and the chapter is never mentioned again.

Another chapter, told in the first person, is about a young woman who meets a young man, develops and relationship with him, and then dumps him when she gets cancer because she doesn't believe he knows who she is. It's well-written but totally random and has nothing to do with the story.

What am I missing here? What did these vignettes add to Jane's story? I sure didn't get it.

No comments: