Monday, April 26, 2010

Review: Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo

Still fighting the fight, walking the walk, and healing the blisters! :) Yes, I reached my 10,000 steps over the past several days, and it has been something I had to plan in. It feels good so far to really be aiming for it.

In other news, my AP students take their test next THURSDAY! Do you sense me freaking out? Yes, I'm freaking out, saying prayers, and hoping for the best. I talked to another AP teacher at our school, and he remarked that he's not nervous at all and figures if they pass, they pass. Is this a gender thing? Am I freaking out for nothing? I know that doesn't make me a better teacher, or show I care more, but what is the deal?!? He basically said he's not worried about the number who pass! *Sigh* Something is really wrong with me.

All right. Enough of the gabbing. Before I got weighed down with the final push for school, I got sucked into Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo. I also, late one night, tweeted a comment about the book and how much I was enjoying it. Well, little did I know, but in my sleepy iPhone state of typing in my tweet, wrote her name Aust-I-n and not Aust-E-n. How did I know? I got a really snarky tweet from a random author, saying she didn't know who that author was. Not my proudest moment, but with the snarky comment from that author (who I'd never heard of), I had little to no desire to read her books! Am I mean? It was just a bit annoying, as I've typed in Jane Austen's name a million times and never made that mistake. So annoying!

Anyway, on to my actual review...

Synopsis: Emma Grant is a recently fired English professor (because of a set up and misunderstanding), off to England to learn about a set of letters and a possible secret society that Jane Austen belonged to. Recovering from a nasty expulsion from her department after finding her loving husband (also and English professor) in a compromising position with her teaching assistant, Emma questions the role that Jane Austen played in her fantasies about love. In the midst of her search for a possible academic savior in this new Austen research she's after, Emma bumps into an old flame from before she married her husband, named Adam. The two become friends again, and Emma soon finds herself questioning why she let him go, and why she had been so enamored with her husband, when he would turn out to be the cheating skunk that he was? As the mystery unfolds, Emma learns more about herself, her belief in romance and love, and about Jane Austen's personal life, yet undiscovered.

Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. One thing I really relish, is being able to have an author allow me the luxury of stepping back into academia. Graduate school was one of those experiences that I loved and cherish, and enjoy escaping back into it through the pages of an author's text. In this case, I thought it was fun watching Emma research more about Jane Austen, and although her research tended to be more the "field" type of research, it was still fun to watch her intellectual curiosity increase as she learned more. You do get the sense that you know what's going to happen, but in reality, the novel ended much differently than I expected. I can't say that I liked the ending, and would have preferred the one I was expecting (a bit happier), but it still didn't totally detract from my enjoyment of the story as a whole.

Emma's character is one that you connect with, and feel the pain of her broken marriage and job loss. This escape to England seems like a luxury, so it is fun to watch her pick up information about Austen, and then to try to determine how it all ties together. I quickly found myself loving her friend Adam, who was her previous flame. Adam might just be a bit too good to be true, but his role in the novel and in helping Emma to feel appreciated again, are interesting. Told as a sort of mystery, yet with this self-discovery by Emma entwined with it, I just thought it was a fun read. You think you know where the story is going, and you do to a point, but don't be completely deceived; the novel moves off in a direction that might just surprise you!

*FTC Disclosure: This review was based off of a library copy of the book.


  1. I'm always misspelling Austen Austin, but then I correct myself because I'm like, "No, Austin's a city." It's a pretty easy mistake to make, especially when you're tired!

    This book sounds pretty similar to Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart. You should e-mail me to tell me whether or not she winds up with Adam! ;)

  2. I really enjoyed this one also and Pattillo's next book Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart. Thanks for the great review.

  3. Oh, an Austen-related book you enjoyed! I should add it to my list now! I've heard good things about Pattillo's book, so I certainly wish to read one of her two books on Austen now.

    Also, Austin is a mistake anyone could make.

  4. Sounds like a good read - thanks indeed for sharing your thoughts.

    Happy Tuesday


  5. My daughter loved this and recently gave me her copy, so I'm looking forward to reading it this summer. Don't blame you for skipping an author's book after a snarky tweet!

    Good luck to your students -one of my twins will be taking Two AP's next month. If she's any indication, the student's are stressing, too!

  6. Good luck to your students!

    The books sounds pretty good, very fun and sweet.

  7. Heidenkind--I know. I was a bit annoyed! Let me just say though...we don't 100% know at the end... Yes, it leaves you kind of up in the air, but still good!

    Laurel Ann--Great! I'll have to go read it. :)

    Irisonbooks--Yes, I finally have an Austen book to recommend!

    Hannah--You're welcome. :)

    JoAnn--Thank you so much for the kind words and reassurance. We'll cross our fingers for everyone taking those AP tests!

    Andrea--Thanks! It was a fun book, and one that is easy to recommend.

  8. I'm glad your walking is going good! And as for snarky people...UG!! Really big UG! Are people really so wrapped up in themselves that they can't see a mistake for what it is...A MISTAKE!!! Sometimes I really hate people! But, I always love you! (Thanks for your comment on my blog!)

  9. Nice review! I've linked it to mine.

  10. I finished the book last week and it was such a treat! I love her reference to other great authors throughout history- the novel is rich that way.