According To Jane

According To Jane

by Marilyn Brant

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Overview

In Marilyn Brant's smart, wildly inventive debut, one woman in search of herself receives advice from the ultimate expert in matters of the heart. . .

It begins one day in sophomore English class, just as Ellie Barnett's teacher is assigning Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. From nowhere comes a quiet "tsk" of displeasure. The target: Sam Blaine, the cute bad boy who's teasing Ellie mercilessly, just as he has since kindergarten. Entirely unbidden, as Jane might say, the author's ghost has taken up residence in Ellie's mind, and seems determined to stay there.

Jane's wise and witty advice guides Ellie through the hell of adolescence and beyond, serving as the voice she trusts, usually far more than her own. Years and boyfriends come and go--sometimes a little too quickly, sometimes not nearly fast enough. But Jane's counsel is constant, and on the subject of Sam, quite insistent. Stay away, Jane demands. He is your Mr. Wickham.

Still, everyone has something to learn about love--perhaps even Jane herself. And lately, the voice in Ellie's head is being drowned out by another, urging her to look beyond everything she thought she knew and seek out her very own, very unexpected, happy ending. . .

"A warm, witty and charmingly original story." --Susan Wiggs, New York Times bestselling author

"An engaging read for all who have been through the long, dark, dating wars, and still believe there's sunshine, and a Mr. Darcy, at the end of the tunnel." --Cathy Lamb, author of Henry's Sisters

"This is a must-read for Austen lovers as well as for all who believe in the possibility of a happily-ever-after ending." --Holly Chamberlin, author of One Week In December

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780758234612
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 10/01/2009
Edition description: Original
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

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According to Jane 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 65 reviews.
Maria_Geraci More than 1 year ago
"According to Jane" is the story of 15 year-old Ellie who begins hearing the voice of Jane Austen when her sophomore English class starts reading "Pride and Prejudice". Jane becomes Ellie's secret companion over the next 20 years as the novel spans Ellie's life from high school to the age of thirty-four. Ellie is searching for true love (something that seemed to evade the real Jane Austen) but that doesn't stop Jane from giving Ellie advice on the men Ellie dates. Labeling men as "Wickhams" and "Darcys" and "Bingleys", "Jane" is ever ready with the same sharp wit she used in her own novels. Warm, smart, and fast paced, I absolutely loved this book and am now left eagerly awaiting Marilyn Brant's next novel.
PanolaJD More than 1 year ago
"Every girl wants the f**king Cinderella story..." Rating: 4.5 When Ellie Barnett first began reading Pride & Prejudice for her high school curriculum while muddling through her love-hate relationship with the aloof student, Sam Blaine, the author to many classic romances came alive in her head ... literally. As much as Ellie disliked the inconvenience of having the ghost of Jane Austen as a second conscience critiquing and persuasively advising her every choice; the two quickly became a solid force along Ellie's journey through her life's various relationships. However, when her longing to find "The One" began to slowly disintegrate as she "emerged from [her] cocoon of adolescence [and] transitioned into young adulthood", Ellie realized early on that life would not always go as intended. She must be willing to let go of what she had planned, so she could accept the life that was waiting for her. But, sometimes that is easier said than done! Thus, after one too many dysfunctional relationships (where she would always try to find something of Sam in each guy she dated) and watching close friends/cousins get married/have kids/settle down, Ellie tried to keep up an optimistic outlook for her future love-life and her desire to one day marry, even though Jane claimed she "would have been considered old in [her] day." To add insult to injury, the "erroneous belief that [she] had more control over [her] destiny that [she] actually [had]" was an ugly truth Ellie learned as she aged. And, with age should come maturity and a more level-headed way of thinking ... or so Ellie thought when she attempted to handle the latest curve the Universe threw her way ... crossing paths again with Sam. This was an endearing coming-of-age tale for Ellie as she experienced the joys and hardships of life (ex. dating, break-ups, family relationships, etc.) from her high-school years to around her mid-30s -- except she had the romantic wisdom of Jane Austen in her head the whole time. Odd, but quite unique and clever! I wholeheartedly enjoyed the overall tale and became emotionally involved with Ellie's life throughout. The flow of the story and quick the passage of time with flashbacks really kept the story alive and freshly entertaining. Lots of wonderful character development (something I crave in a story) the revolved round the moral of the book: Timing -- for sometimes people are too young/naive to become too series too soon ... so things will eventually begin to happen when one is truly ready for it - which was challenging for the protagonist to grasp. For everyone who has stopped believing in happy-ever-after, check out this book -- it is a pleasing story about passion and hope! Likes: An emotionally gripping story which oddly enough runs parallel to many single women lifestyles today as they struggle to plan out (the right?!?) future (ex. relationship struggles while hunting for "The One"). Plus, there were lots of fun 80's music montages that blended will with the characters/chapters. Dislikes: It was strange how Ellie's pessimistic beliefs hit home ... especially for me, for I feel many women could easily relate to the same dark struggles she went through. Thus, Ellie's unenthusiastic statements kind of made me bitter along with her and when I was finished reading each night ---- so props to the story for personally affecting me that way!!
darkangel_1988 More than 1 year ago
According to Jane was an okay book. Very emotional book to read but also somewhat funny. An okay book for a free download.
Laurel_Ann More than 1 year ago
Here's a new novel that tugged at my heart strings and validated my belief that if the world was run according to Jane Austen, we would be much smarter and happier. Enuff said! Fifteen-year old Ellie Barnett is a bookish geek. She excels at academics, but according to her caustic older sister, she is digging herself into a hole of permanent unpopularity with her scraggly hair, lack of make-up, and inattention to fashion. There is however, one boy who since kindergarten has paid her a bit more attention than she is comfortable with. Sam Blaine may be good-looking, athletic, brainy, and popular - but he is trouble - and just happens to sit behind her in English class taunting her with pokes in the back with his pencil and sexual innuendo. When she cracks open her next reading assignment, a copy of Pride and Prejudice, she begins to hear voices. Jane Austen's British voice to be exact, interjecting observations and advice, specifically warning Ellie to beware of Sam Blaine. He is her Wickham, that charming scoundrel that wooed Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and then eloped with her younger sister Lydia. Ellie does not doubt the advice, just the whole hearing voices thing really freaks her out her out. Jane Austen's spirit has somehow inhabited her mind, commenting in her acerbic early ninteenth-century sensibility on Ellie's 1980's life and romances and she does not know why. Over the course of twenty years, we follow Ellie through her life challenges as a single women looking for love and happiness in what Jane Austen deems to be a morally confusing world. Who of us could ever forget their own first love, the painful realization that you are being used, or the first time you were dumped? As Jane offers Ellie witty and wise advice on family conflicts, career choices, and a barrage of bad boyfriends that come and go, Ellie slowly realizes that she must learn some life lesson before she can move on. For Ellie, one painful lesson was bad-boy Sam who Jane advises to stay clear of yet she is still drawn too. As their lives keep crossing paths over the course of the years, they never seem to be at the right place at the right time to work it out. Ellie trusts and values Jane's opinion. Who better to advise her than an author who is valued for her keen judgment of human nature and romantic insights? But with Sam, she holds strong prejudices. Could she be wrong? Is he really her Wickham, or could he be her Mr. Darcy? What an unexpected, uplifting, and urbane debut novel! To paraphrase Jane Austen's character Lady Catherine, Marilyn Brant has given us a treasure. Granted that there are hundreds of Jane Austen inspired novels written over the years, this totally unique and original concept of Austen's ghost inhabiting and advising a modern young woman is brilliant. The play of early nineteenth-century social mores against twentieth-century culture is so droll that I laughed-out-loud several times in total recognition. Like Austen, Brant excels at characterization offering a heroine in Ellie Barnett that I could totally identify with, and a hero in Sam that is so endearingly flawed that any woman worthy of her worn out VHS copy of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries will be happy to swoon over. Subtly powerful and amusingly acerbic, you will be gently reproved into agreeing in the power of love to transform us all. Laurel Ann, Austenprose
CeCeSG More than 1 year ago
I was very excited to read this book.  I am an Austen fan and after reading the reviews I thought this book would be a sure hit.  Like the characters in this book I was so wrong about so much. I understand what the author was attempting to do, and I will say that Ellie seems to be a very close portrayal of so many women today. This book is a realistic look at the journey  for romantic love that many  of us go through- and that is about where the positives end for me. Honestly, there so many more things I disliked about this book than that I enjoyed.  First, was anyone else annoyed by all the drinking and driving? There were times that Ellie tried to make it clear that she waited until she was "clear headed" to drive again, but several where it was not clear.  It seems we are to buy into the perception that Ellie is some good girl geek.  Yet there is nothing geeky about her.  Ok, she's smart, got good grades, didn't get along with her older popular sister and younger brother.  Other than that, she's just ... average.  "Jane" tells her over and over at certain points in her life that she is above average, but honestly, that was hard to buy. As for Ellie and "Jane" (I can't think of this entity as even a fictional portrayal of Jane Austen), I honestly didn't like either of them.  Ellie in turns seemed weak, stupid, demanding, and shrewish.  I could not figure out why any man would be eager to marry here.  Through out the book she is  demanding commitment from man after man, sometimes after the first romantic ( and I use that term VERY loosely here) occasion.  As for "Jane", she did not come off as witty or wise.  She was annoying, judgmental, snobby, critical, and generally unlikable.  If this person were talking in my head I think i would seriously consider extreme measure to rid myself of them.  The entire book as I read, it did not seem that "Jane" was a seperate entity from Ellie, but really a part of her psyche for which she should receive professional help.  The other characters were very flat .  It would have been nice to get to know Sam more, he was featured so prominently in the book and yet in the end I felt I knew him not at all.  Feeling as though he was a stranger made the ending feel very odd, and rushed.  It went against the realism of the rest of the book.  The book felt as though the author was trying to create these big, surprising and romantic moments, but that was a dismal failure. There was nothing surprising or romantic about any of it.  The only thing big here was my disappointment in the attempt. Nook Pages:259 .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorites!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. At times I felt like the Jane Austen part was added after the whole story had already been written. It was a great book even without Jane, but if it hadn't had Jane in it, I wouldn't have found it in the first place. I'm a huge Jane Austen fan and the author included her in a way that showed respect and admiration. The story stands on its own. It's humorous and full of great characters.
Jill_Thomas More than 1 year ago
Honestly, Ellie was one of the most identifiable characters I have ever read. Could be because I am a child of the eighties (the Bon Jovi references did not go unnoticed!!). A time when we, as a society, were just beginning to really break away from the stereotypical, ‘marriage right out of high school’ pitfall. A time when girls were really beginning to explore their options. College and a career were, for the first time, common. And Ellie is representative of that. I was hooked in the first few pages as Ellie sat in her high school English class, Sam Blaine picking on (flirting with) her. I felt as if I was sitting a row over, watching myself all those years ago. (Exact number of years will not be divulged) As I’ve said many times, this is Marilyn’s gift. Her realism. And when Ellie hears the disembodied voice of Jane Austen? Well, a smile tugged at the corner of my mouth because I knew I was beginning a great story. I was not disappointed. As we zap in and out of Ellie’s life from the time she is fifteen to her mid-thirties, we see how having an invisible Jane Austen could have benefited our own selves during those years. I’m sure Jane would have had more than a bit to say and more than a few tsks for me as I dated most of the losers in the tri-state area. Again, that’s the beauty of Marilyn’s writing, we see ourselves in her protagonists. I wouldn't dream of giving anything away, but I will say, the ending had me reaching for a tissue, but not for the reasons you may think. Nostalgia is a feeling not as easily tapped into for a writer as say, happiness or sadness. But as I read the last few pages, I reflected not only on Ellie’s past, but my own. I found myself not lamenting my regrets, but longing for the days when I would have done things a bit different if I had my own Jane. So, thank you, Marilyn Brant, once again, for the wonderful journey.
Mimi77 More than 1 year ago
This was a really great love story!!! i read it in one day
harstan More than 1 year ago
In the mid 1980s in suburban Chicago, fifteen years old sophomore Ellie Barnett takes Mrs. Leverson's English Lit class where they are reading Pride and Prejudice. When Sam Blaine makes a move on Ellie, she hears a warning voice in her head. Jane Austen cautions her that Sam is her Wickham. The voice remains with Ellie over the years as boyfriends come and go; but Jane remains advising her on relationships especially how to elude those sexy bad boys. The worst of the lot in Jane's mind is Sam who intermittently seems to always be there sniffing at Ellie. She, in turn, knows she is attracted to him and always has since high school lit. However, Ellie begins to think of Sam as her Darcy and decides perhaps even the great Jane Austen needs mentoring on love. Just when you think Jane Austen could not appear in anything new, a refreshing reincarnation occurs as Marilyn Brant provides an engaging modern day take on the writer. Ellie is a terrific lead character as she adapts to the voice in her head while Sam is her nemesis. Although the abrupt scene shifts can be somewhat jarring, readers will thoroughly enjoy this fun contemporary romance that also provides insight into Jane Austen and her characters. Harriet Klausner
AuthorKellyMoran More than 1 year ago
Author Marilyn Brant worked as an elementary school teacher, a library staff member, a freelance magazine writer and a national book reviewer before becoming a full-time novelist. According to Jane is her first novel, which won the prestigious 2007 RWA Golden Heart Award. Her next, not yet titled, novel is set for release in 2010. Marilyn resides in Illinois with her husband and son. One day in sophomore English class, Ellie Barnett's teacher assigns Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice, and Ellie's world is never the same. Ever since that fateful day, the one and only Jane Austin has taken up residence in Ellie's head, her ghost guiding Ellie through some of the most difficult times in her life, serving as her voice of reason and a friend she can trust. As years of boyfriends come and go, Jane remains a constant, along with another not so cherished person, Sam Blaine. Sam, the cute bad boy in high school, has been a source of torment in Ellie's life. Through her college years and after, Ellie has found herself running into him at the worst possible moments. Ellie can't deny her attraction to Sam, any more than she can deny Jane her say. Could it be possible that even Jane Austin has something to learn about love? Jane claims he is her Mr. Wickham, but could he really be her Mr. Darcy? Admittedly, I thought this was a peculiar premise for a book, but after reading it, in fact after page one, I can't think of enough positive adjectives to throw at it that could possibly give it justice. Told in first-person, this book jumps past and present smoothly, with an equal mix of sweet, funny, and heart-breaking. And, may I add, several 'ahh' moments. I find this equally suited for young adults as I do for romance lovers, but would categorize it as literature with romantic elements. The plot flowed well without any dead spots. The secondary characters were endearing and the setting perfect. Mostly, Jane Austin fans will revel in this modern day unique twist on a classic, as well as learning interesting facts about Jane herself. There is just enough mystery of 'why' to keep you guessing, and the ending is thoroughly satisfying. This was a truly, irrevocably inspiring novel. Kelly Moran, Author and Reviewer
books_ofa_feather on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
According to Jane is about Ellie Barnett who suddenly finds herself in tow of an extra voice inside her head during her sophomore year of highschool. That voice just happens to be Jane Austen. The story follows Ellie (and Jane) through her highschool, college, and post college life. Jane talks to Ellie, advising her, lecturing her, and ultimately becoming her friend.It wasn¿t exactly what I expected. I thought for sure Jane would push her Regency Era lifestyle on Ellie more. Insisting she be a proper woman despite modern standards. In fact I assumed (possibly I was wrong) Jane would find the modern world utterly barbaric in comparison. Ellie suffers many heart breaks, which she could have avoided had she listened to Jane. Ellie is a sweet girl whom I believe wants nothing more than to be truly loved, don¿t we all. By the end of the book I was thinking it is about time she gets her happy ending. This girl has had it rough in the realm of love. A fun, fast read, I couldn¿t put down until I knew the ending (despite my first reservations). Turns out Jane Austen might not always be the expert matchmaker we know her to be. Do be warned the book does contain the now so typical gratuitous sex.
igjoe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. A light, fun read with great humor and drama. Flashbacks to the 80's with the leg warmers and big hair! Wonderful.
gravitygreeneyes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was meandering through Barnes and Nobles when my eyes caught According to Jane. I had just read Emma and fell in love with the character dynamic and the vividly dense writing; I had Jane Austen fever. As soon as my eyes skimmed over the back cover I knew that I had to read it. I marched over to the cashier with satisfaction and without hesitation bought it. As soon as I returned home I dove right in. As the idea of Jane Austen¿s voice being stuck in Ellie¿s head was being introduced I was so sure I was going to like this book. Through reading multiple Jane Austen books it is very easy to see that her characters, especially female characters, have a bold and strong voice so I figured that Jane Austen herself would possess that same boldness. When her voice was introduced I thought that she was very witty and showed contrast to Ellie which made conversations between them both very enjoyable. As I continued to read I felt ambivalent about whether I was enjoying the book. Some scenes were written very well. I thought the prom sequence was relatable and didn¿t turn into a romantic cliché which often happens with prom or dance sequences. I didn¿t however like the relationship between Ellie and Sam, which is an essential part of the book. I guess I just couldn¿t understand how they grew to love each other. The evolution of their relationship didn¿t feel real or natural. I usually find the relationships of people who at first really dislike one another and the fall in love very interesting and passionate but I thought their relationship lacked in that department. Although I didn¿t like their relationship I liked the contrast between their relationship and the relationships that she had with the other men. The relationship she had with other men seemed superficial and the relationship that she had with Sam possessed a little more depth. As the book progressed I was becoming less and less enthused and that didn¿t change once it came to the very end. I thought the end was very predictable and sometimes predictability in a book¿s end is ok but here I felt like it was more disappointing and there was almost a lack of romance. All in all I thought the book had some very well written and clever parts like the prom sequence and some conversations between Ellie and Jane but there were also many clichés within in the book that made it less exciting to read.
Tmyers526 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got this through the Early Reviewers program. I was so hoping it would be worth the long wait, and it definitely was! I will read pretty much anything related to Jane Austen, and this was a nice twist and a different approach. I was hooked within the first few pages and could not put the book down. A great read, and you don't really have to be an Austen fan to enjoy it.
BarbsReviews on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved the story of Jane and Ellie getting to know each other. Poor Ellie has no luck with men from High school to adult hood in her 30's. There is one Boy Sam that she ignores half the time or gets irritated by him. They see each other along the years catching up and Jane does not care for Sam at all. What will happen to this Liberian will she ever find her soulmate?
Apolline on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ellie is 15 when Jane Austen makes her first appearance in Ellie's mind. The relationship between Ellie and Jane is the main plot in this book, where the target is to help Ellie find her own Mr. Darcy. The end can be spotted early on, though this not ruin the drive in the novel. Ellie must, as a true heroine, endure her own trials and tribulations, before she can get her own happy ending, if she wants it. This is a book to pick up if you are interested in some light reading. I guess it is no surprise that the plot is based on some of Jane Austens novels, like these type of books tend to be. All in all, the book was okey, but a few factors sort of irritated me. One of them I can't really mention, since that would be a major spoiler, and the plot should take its natural course regardless to what I think or without the writer trying to change it to suit how he/she wants the story to develop and end (I don't know if any of you quite understand what my point is here, but I just couldn't explain it any other way, sorry!). The other thing I put my finger on, was that the conversation/dialog between Ellie and Jane sort of overshadows the plot at a point in the story where you just wanted to know what happens. The last thing I did not like was the way the story suddenly at the end changed from passed to present narration. I have a difficulty with novels written in a present state, I tend to avoid them. I do not know why, I just don't like it and therefore I found the end a bit....messy, maybe.
elizardkwik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From the description, I was under the impression that this was a young adult novel. While the story starts out when the main character is in high school, it quickly jumps back and forth to various points in her life, following the saga of her many potential mates, with added commentary by the voice of Jane Austen in her head. While there wasn't anything wrong with the story and I enjoyed how it turned out, it seemed that the book went in circles and fast-forwarded through so much of Ellie's life that we never really got to know her. Her actions seemed rather contradictory to her behavior. Overall, the book was a light read, likely to appeal to Austen fans -- but not a young adult novel.
GRgenius on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Where to start? It's a great book filled with unexpected wit and wisdom dispensed not only from the characters as created by this talented author, but from Jane Austen herself! That's right! Jane Austen lives on in this book...well in the mind of the lead character...as a ghost...adding a commentary to her daily activities, companionship for a quiet geekish girl, and pearls of wisdom on her potential suitors. To summarize, the journey of Ellie Barnett from simple girl to experienced woman with all the highs, lows, and laughs in-between. Follow her as she goes from high school geek to adult...well, okay, she's still a geek but that's okay...that's just one of her many endearing qualities that will have you in tears and stitches from one moment to the next while delivering a message about the importance of discovering the real you and what you want from life. Recommended reading for older teens through adults...and for those looking to see Jane dispense a little of her timeless wisdom in a new and creative way....happy reading!
Shuffy2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sophmore year in High School- Ellie loves Jason and hates Sam. Over the next twenty years- Ellie loves Brent, Andrei, Dominic, Tim, etc and she still hates Sam. Why does Sam still matter?Ever since Ellie read Pride and Prejudice in tenth grade she categorizes the men in her life into two categories- The Mr. Darcys and the Wickhams, but it is not always easy to know which is which until it is too late. As time goes by, she may have to admit there is more than two catgories of men! She also has the voice of Jane Austen in head directing her to stay away from certain men. Should she listen to the voice of Jane?Cute story, but I was expecting more Persuasion and less P&P since the cover of the book says "According to Jane- Sometimes love takes a little persuasion"; still it was a quick light read that kept my attention. I would recommend as a fun read to JA fans!
BookDivasReads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A strange book but quite good. The main character believes that Jane Austen is guiding her throughout her life with internalized conversations. Is Ellie delusional schizophrenic or is the spirit of Jane Austen really talking to her? In the end it doesn't really matter as we journey through Ellie's life examining her relationships and breakups and her life choices. Without Jane this would simply be another book about women and their problems with the men in their lives. The incorporation of Jane as a spiritual guide and the lessons Ellie attempts to learn as a result make for a truly novel experience. I was pleasantly surprised.
foggidawn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ever since high school, Ellie Barnett has been listening to the voices in her head. Well, just one voice, actually: that of Jane Austen. Throughout Ellie's teens, twenties, and thirties, Jane accompanies her, providing running commentary on Ellie's life and her string of (generally unfortunate) romantic liaisons. Though Ellie is continually drawn back to her high school crush (bad boy Sam Blaine), Jane disapproves, warning Ellie that Sam is her "Wickham." The ending is fairly predictable, and the explanation for Jane's presence in Ellie's life is a bit weak, but the characters are interesting and the plot moves along quickly.This fun premise is sure to attract fans of chick lit as well as Austen devotees, but is better suited to the former. If you're looking for an homage to Austen's unique combination of wit and innocence, look elsewhere -- but if you're looking for a fun romance with a thoroughly modern heroine, a few hot love interests, some steamy sex scenes, and a touch of Austen, this is definitely the book for you.
razzbelly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting book. I never was one to get into the Jane Austin novels but this made them seem a bit more approachable. It was fun to watch Ellie go from awkward teen to grown woman yet still have all the insecurities that her teen self had. (don't we all honestly?) Without giving too much away of the book, I don't think I really would have done what she did though. I like to think I would have stuck up for myself a little more and demanded the real deal.
OregonKimm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Have you ever gotten giddy from reading a book, just because you felt it was written for you? I treasure that experience, because it doesn¿t come along very often---and indeed, it has been a very long time since it last happened to me. Finally, Marilyn Brant¿s debut novel, According to Jane, showed up on my doorstep, jumped into my eager hands and fulfilled all my expectations. I love this book. I can¿t quite put it into words, but it struck me on so many levels that I¿m still not able to get the characters out of my head. Ellie is engaging, despite wanting to kick her in the behind a couple of times after watching her make some um¿questionable decisions. The boyfriends (I¿ll just lump them all together shall I?), well¿I can see how she ended where she did with them. Argh¿could you not have seen that coming (repeat statement as needed)? As for Di, the funky sister, I was quite pleased with her story and relieved where it ended (wiping brow motion). I loved Sam. I would have jumped Sam in the first scene. Can I ask why Ellie didn¿t jump Sam? Yes, we wouldn¿t have had a story, but seriously¿she should have jumped him. And finally, Miss Austen¿I must admit, at the first ¿tsk¿ I seriously rolled my eyes and shuddered. Uh, oh, where in the world was this going? In fact, it did take me a while to warm up to the insertion of the ever wonderful Jane Austen into this story. I get the point/purpose and how it was necessary for the plot and all, but there were times when I got a little frustrated with Miss Jane¿s quips. Mm, pride and prejudice rears its head once again (and I¿m not meaning the title).Being a woman of¿well, someone who can remember the 80¿s¿I was delighted with this as the setting for most of the book. The nostalgia hit me over and over with each song mentioned in the story. Many memories evoked there. A special note on the dance scenes...thank you, thank you, Ms. Bryant for the way you wrote them together (read the book and you¿ll see what I mean).Finally, the sum of all things considered, what hooked me the most in this book was the dialogue. Wordy, even pretentious, novels can be interesting to read--sometimes. They wow you with how much they know and how complicated they can tie the characters up. But my favorite, and Bryant hit the mark for me, is where rather than simply reading a story, you begin to feel like you¿re curled up on a sofa with a nice drink, listening to a long lost friend catch you up on the story of their life. Suddenly, you feel compelled to identify and compare your own experiences, drawing the two of you together in a special bond of familiarity. So now, after having finished According to Jane, Ellie has become my friend. We have shared our lives together, both the good and the bad, much like she shared hers with Miss Austen. Only without the insufferableness¿
plettie2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
With According to Jane author Marilyn Brant presents a chick lit story with a Jane Austen twist. The chick lit portion of the book holds its own within the genre. Brant uses a time shifting technique flopping from past to present that is quite competent. The characters have depth enough to make us care about them. The problem with the book is the Jane Austen device. Not only do I not buy it, but I believe it detracts from the book. The book provides that the main character is somehow a descendent of Jane's lost love and thus Jane is "haunting?" her mind in order to ensure she fairs better in the world of love than Jane did. It's not enough of a reason for Austen to be there. It feels gimmicky. Gimmicks work to sell books initially (I was interested in this book because of the Austen thing--I like Austen). But I believe this book would be better without it. I cannot recommend this book to an Austen fan. I would embarrass myself. Unlike some other Austen-linked books (my most recent favorite being Prada and Predjudice ) Brant doesn't use Austen's clever plot outlines, or use Austen's very strong female characters as a model for her own. She actually speaks as Austen herself. To me--and others may not feel this way--I was offended by someone speaking for the author. As an Austen fan, I do not want anyone speaking for her, especially as part of a chick lit novel. I found myself skipping over any section that contained these exchanges. If I was any less dedicated a reader, I simply would have tossed the book. That said, if the Austen piece was removed, the rest of the novel is fun. It's a typical self-discovery, coming of age book that is plotted through the loves in the main character's life. I would have liked to hear more about these episodes (what we got was interesting and sometimes quite nicely steamy). I'd like to see the characters in the more day to day dialogue, instead of rushed to move the plot ahead. I found the characters of ex-boyfriend Andrei and sister Di especially interesting and would have liked to see more of them. As Brant's first novel, I think According to Jane is a decent first effort. I'd recommend the book to people who really enjoy chick lit. However, I hope she will drop the gimmicks and focus on developing characters (which she is quite good at) for her future books. Otherwise, she will not hold this reader for much longer. Note: This book should not be listed as a young adult novel. It is not appropriate in its content or theme for young adults. It should be listed as romance or chick lit.