Monday, February 28, 2011

What I've Read This Week

What I Read This Weeked . . .

A Walk With Jane Austen: A Journey into Adventure, Love and Faith by Lori Smith -- Memoir/Travelogue

Exhausted and depressed from a debilitating mystery illness, Lori Smith had questions about her life and her faith and went searching for answers in Jane Austen's England. Starting her trip at a religious retreat at Oxford, Lori thought she found her Mr. Darcy, but he was kind of more like Willoughby, that is, non-committal or maybe just not that into her, Lori isn't sure. After Oxford she heads off alone to visit the places significant in Jane Austen's life and works, exploring Jane's ideas about faith and working out her own. She interrupts her travelogue to travel back in time to tell the reader about her childhood and then forward in time and then off on tangents about her family and her faith. In between, she tramps through fields, down deserted roads and in the footsteps of Jane Austen. She shares with the reader related quotes from Jane Austen's books, letters, biographies and other anecdotes about the author's life that are already well-known to the true Janeite. Lori muses about her lack of love life and her desire to marry and have a family. She sounds a lot like someone from the 19th century with her deep religious convictions and the idea that she's almost thirty and unmarried. All of the above combine to make extremely dull reading. Lori comes across as naive and whiny at times, though I understand she was feeling bad. I wanted more description of Jane Austen locations rather than tedious, pointless details of Lori's own life. I'm not a Christian and couldn't relate to Lori and mostly skimmed the parts where she talks about her family and faith. Don't read this book expecting a travelogue of Jane Austen sites. I recommend this one only to Christian women in their twenties and early thirties.

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