Grace is currently in college working towards getting an English degree. An English degree means that she is doing a lot of reading, writing, and analyzing books and authors. She has decided to occasionally share a few of her thoughts, writings, and analysis here with you. Today is her first post. She is sharing a few of her thoughts about Jane Austen, which she knows is not a very popular opinion. I hope that it is something you enjoy. ~ Lynn
I have realized that I do not love Jane Austen.
Yes, I know that I may get a lot of heat from this because so many people just love her. But I don’t, and I am sure there are some other people out there who also don’t love her, which is why I decided to share my thoughts.
In 2018, I decided to do the challenge of reading every Jane Austen book. Well, let me tell you that fizzled out rather quickly after I started reading her books again.
I read two of her books when I was in school for book reports. I didn’t enjoy her, but I blamed it on having to do it for school. I mean I normally didn’t like it when I was assigned to read a book. So I thought, I’ll like Jane Austen once I start reading it on my own time.
It wasn’t that I hated Jane Austen. Actually, the writing wasn’t bad at all. It was good, and I found the style interesting. There was a sense of humor, and the characters were rather interesting. But I didn’t love it. I found it decent like other fiction books that one picks up today, but I didn’t find it to be one of the best books that I have ever read.
I do have to warn you that this is coming from someone who is not a huge fan of romance novels. Okay, I do love The Princess Bride, but that is one of the few exceptions.
I enjoy stories that have a love story as a subplot, but I never have enjoyed it as a main theme. It is often just cheesy and very obvious who was in love with who. I liked to be surprised when I read a book, and Jane Austen just never surprised me. But maybe then again, it is because everyone knows the story.
Instead I was amused. Then again from some reading I’ve done on Jane Austen, her books are supposed to be funny, most people just do not realize that.
I felt like I could have been laughing more at the characters and weird situations found with in the book. But I wasn’t. Maybe that is because it is just not my style of humor.
Other books have made me laugh a lot more. When reading Jane Austen I was reading a comedy love story, which is not what most people sell it as. Most people sell Jane Austen as romance, not romantic comedy.
And so maybe I wasn’t laughing because I felt guilty reading it when I found it funny. A part of me understands that society does not find her funny and thus I feel like I shouldn’t. Which is wrong, but it threw me off from reading the rest of her books.
I feel like Jane Austen is over sold. I enjoy Elizabeth Gaskell more than Jane Austen because Gaskell is able to make me laugh more, and there is not the pressure to find her love stories realistic. I think it is all personal preference though.
I may pick up Jane Austen in a few years once I get over people trying to say it is a romance novel when it is really supposed to be a mockery of love stories and the 1800’s society. and I might appreciate Jane Austen more when I am older, but I doubt it.
What are your thoughts about Jane Austen? Do you agree or disagree with me?
8 thoughts on “When You Discover You Don’t Love Jane Austen”
I should preface this by saying that I have only read Pride and Prejudice but I have watched all the movies. I used to love the movies and Pride and Prejudice was my all time favorite movie. Several years ago I was watching it and noticed that they sit around and gossip…alot! Gossiping comes naturally to us all probably so I don’t need to watch a movie about while trying to battle this bad habit.
The other issue I have with her is that she oftentimes makes preachers out to be idiots. My husband is a pastor and he is a godly man who diligently studies the Bible and prays for the attenders of the church and seeks to live in obedience to God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It started to leave a bad taste in my mouth and I haven’t watched it in years.
I like romances but I don’t watch them or read them because I personally feel that they make the main character out to be so perfect that it’s easy to get dissatisfied with your spouse for their failings.
So all that to say I agree and don’t love Jane Austen either but for slightly different reasons. I enjoyed reading your perspective!
I understand what you mean. There is some much gossip, but from what I have studied, the gossip is supposed to be somewhat humourous and show how horrible it is. Often it leads to issues instead of anything good. The good ends up coming about because of other actions and often in result of having to overcome the gossip. The mother in Pride and Prejudice is a perfect example of her gossip being this. I found her to be one of the funniest character but also the most annoying because of her bad habits. Then again, I am unlike other people.
I don’t like romance stories for a similar reason as you. I do not blame you for giving up on Jane Austen. I am not one to watch those movies over and over again like mom as the bad habits and sometimes perfect characters get to me too.
Sometimes I think when books come with expectations put upon the readers the books are not enjoyable. There are a lot of classics I read that I just couldn’t get excited about because I was told they were the epitome and anyone with a brain will enjoy them….and then I didn’t. Sometimes I think Jane Austen comes with this kind of baggage. And I say this as someone who took a 400 level honors Lit class on Jane Austen for fun… Honestly, I don’t love all her books. I like them, but don’t love them them all. And that’s okay.
So it’s not just you. You are in the company of a lot of intelligent, well read people.
Read what you love,
I have that same problem with some of the classics I have read for college and even highschool. I am so glad to know someone else finds certain reads hard even though a majority of the English crowd finds them to be so enjoyable.
I was an English major also, and I agree with those who feel Jane Austen’s works are good, not great. So many books, so little time….I’d rather be reading non-fiction, especially historical non-fiction. I’ve read and enjoyed so many books from your booklists, since we have similar interests; thank you for taking the time to review and share them!
I am so glad that you have enjoyed our booklists! We agree with you. Non-fiction is our favorite. We love to hear from readers that enjoy non-fiction as much as we do. Thank you!
I tried reading Hane Austin and did not care for her. I tried watching Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow and couldn’t stand it. I ejected it. Then I watched Pride and Prejudice, which was better enough that I watched the whole movie, but it was so formulaic, essentially the same as White Christmas with Bing Crosby 100 years later. I prefer White Christmas. I do love the classics, particularly Tolstoy and Thomas Mann, but Jane Austin—in my view, she’s a lightweight, too frivolous. I recognize I am in the minority.
I don’t enjoy her books either. Something is quite shallow in the stories … Rich girl problems, always solved by marriage to a rich, handsome, and model gentleman at the end… Almost feels like living in poor Jane’s daydream…