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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Jane Austen Book Club

Ok. I admit I am smitten with this movie. It is on my all time list of favorites. Watching this movie is like visiting with old friends. Based on the novel with the same title, written by Karen Joy Fowler in 2005, the movie came out in 2007.
This is my book club fantasy come to life. Six Californians read the works of Austen, six books over six months, with each member leading the discussion of one of the books. They find the novels have plenty of insights that can be applied to contemporary friendships, marriages, sexual politics, money and class issues, social manners, self-control, second chances, and finding one's own place in the world. Their discussions are what you would imagine a book club discussion should be; intense, exciting, passionate. The characters are people you'd like to spend time with.

Jocelyn (Emma): a breeder of Rhodesian Ridgebacks lives outside of town and her dogs are her family.  Jocelyn has been best friends with Sylvia since  childhood and introduced her to her husband, Daniel, when they were in high school. Now in her fifties, she has never married and has no children. She originally invites Grigg to the book club for Sylvia's sake, but ends up attracted to him herself.

Allegra (Sense and Sensibility): the young and impetuous 30-year-old daughter of Sylvia and her husband Daniel. Allegra is an artist and a thrill seeker who enjoys activities such as rock climbing and skydiving. Allegra is separated from her partner, Corinne, and lives with Sylvia.

Prudie (Mansfield Park) : a 28-year-old French teacher at a local high school. She is married to Dean, whom she loves, but feels distanced from, especially when one student in particular flirts with her.

Grigg (Northanger Abbey): an offbeat 40-something, and the only male member of the book club. Grigg grew up the only boy among his three older sisters. He met Jocelyn outside a science fiction convention as she came to attend a nearby dog breeding convention.

Bernadette (Pride and Prejudice): a talkative, 67-year-old yoga enthusiast. She has been married multiple times and is the most satisfied with her lifestyle.

Sylvia (Persuasion): Jocelyn's best friend, Sylvia is also in her fifties and is separating from her husband.

I love the idea of a small community of friends supporting each other through life's changes in the framework of a book club. The fact they are reading Austen to me is minor compared to the relationships that strengthen between the characters. A bit of romance also adds a nice touch. Each month they meet in a different place (a coffee shop, a member's home, at the beach) to discuss the month's selection. I've been in a few book clubs, and started one myself that is successfully moving forward, although I have put someone else in charge for the last few months, but have yet to find the perfect fit for me.

Has anyone else seen this movie or read the book? I'd love to know if you have the same infatuation with it as I do.

Thanks for reading. To return to the Fiction Writers Blog Hop on Julie Valerie's website click here: