Customer Reviews for

A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me about Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter

Average Rating 4
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  • Posted May 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An Enjoyable Memoir Worth Reading!

    I don't normally review memoirs. They just don't appeal to me, and I have a hard time being "captured" by the memoirs. However, there are rare occasions, such as this one, that I find I become engrossed in the life of the author, and I find myself finished with the book before I ever really got started! Those are the kinds of memoirs I enjoy...the ones that really capture and aren't too boring, yet aren't over the top. A Jane Austen Education is one such memoir, and I am pleased to have had the chance to review it!

    There are some folks out there who may think about buying this book because of Austen alone. She is a great story teller of all time, and I truly enjoy her work. But this isn't strictly about Austen. Yes, it's about Austen but it's not ABOUT Austen. Deresiewicz is a man who creates this enjoyable memoir about his life after reading 6 of Austen's novels. He was a man who laughed at Jane Austen's work. A man who takes each chapter, breaks them down by specific books of Austen, and tells of how each book changed his life in some form or other.

    Through each chapter, Deresiewicz tells of the meaning of each of these "romantic" novels, as they have so often been dubbed. After reading the novels, he was able to see through "romance" to the meaning and life lessons among each one. He took those messages/lessons and filed them away, learning from them and seeing what would make his life different....make his life better.

    This is a four star memoir that I highly recommend you read. If you are an Austen fan, then take a moment or two to read this novel. You will see her stories in a whole new light! High praises to the author of this enjoyable memoir.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2011

    Austen for a man

    I loved this book already being an self-professed Austenite. I think it is though very useful and enjoyable to get a masculine perspective on Austen. I enjoyed Mr. Deresiewicz's narrative and perspective. I do highly recommend it!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    Great read!

    For all Jane fans!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing Insight into the Genius of Jane Austen

    Mr. Deresiewicz gives an intelligent summary of the life lessons in Jane Austen's novels that are useful for anyone looking to further enhance their already fine character: choose wisdom over wit, love with your head AND your heart, and most of all strive for kindness and usefulness.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2012

    To any and ALL Jane Austen fans out there, read this, "A Ja

    To any and ALL Jane Austen fans out there, read this, "A Jane Austen Education: how six novels taught me about love, friendship, and the things that really matter" by William Deresiewicz. Seriously. I'm in the SAME giddy raptures of delight that I get into after watching an Austen adaptation, and this is only a memoir about how six novels changed a man's life.

    Now, more than ever, I'm determined to wait, not for the man who "completes me", but the one who, by God's grace and divine awesome love, stretches and grows me while letting me stretch and grow him as we grow together in God. I'm quite happy to wait for my Darcy and my Wentworth, my Edward and my Mr. Knightley.

    This memoir follows a man as he writes his dissertation on community in nineteenth-century England. He took a class in college on English lit and was blessed to have one of those great professors who teach not to teach, but to be taught. William Deresiewicz, the author, was totally not into Jane Austen- "Why do we have to read some sappy Romantic author? Are you kidding me? Let's read Dostoevsky instead!"- but realized as he read Emma, that neither was Jane Austen. She strove to be separate from her Romantic peers, and instead write about community, friendship, affection, and lastly true love. Austen laughed at the people (her characters) who "fell into love", writing them as being the biggest fools of all. Deresiewicz uses each of Austen's six novels to explain some part of society--explanations that apply to our modern world as well--and to show how the brilliant, honest thoughts of Austen changed his life.

    This book is well written, with humor, meaning, and connection, and expands each Austen story in a way that I never would have done on my own. (Though, to be fair, I haven't read all six novels, and the two I have read were a few years ago. Just like for Austen's beloved characters, growing up changes things.) It's a rare book that can change a person's viewpoint, and I can say that I will not be about to watch an Austen adaptation--or read her books--the same way ever again.

    Heck, even if you're not actually a fan of Austen at the moment, read this, and you just might end up being one. There are worse things.

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