Monday, February 18, 2008

Becoming a Jane Austen Junkie??

Okay, I had read Jane Austen back in college due to being an English major, and also due to taking book & film classes, but I never really enjoyed her work all that much. Maybe it was because I was young, or possibly because I was in a hurry to get the reading done (since you only get a week or less), or might it have been the fact that I had to read it .... I know not - but I was never absorbed by any of her books or overly impressed with them... until yesterday.

Over the past few years I have been revisiting many of the classics that were crammed into my college days, and undoubtedly enjoying them so much more, or even for the first time as I read them now vs then. Jane Austen is an author who has been on my list for some time to re-read, so after a timely chat with a fellow homeschool mom who adores her work immensely I decided to take the plunge once more (and set Dickens aside temporarily). Ironically, the very night I had this conversation, I had earlier that day purchased the film version of Pride and Prejudice (the 1995, 6 hr long mini series by BBC). I had ordered it with some homeschool materials because it was on sale and I am always thinking ahead - plus it was the film version of choice by any true Austen fan and most closely follows the book.

So, there it was decided, I would begin with the tale of Darcy & Elizabeth (again). I started the book a bit last week, but due to time limits only got a few chapters into it, but then Saturday night I read like a fiend and became so engrossed in it, I did not want to put it down.. so I was eating my V-Day dark, dark, dark chocolates to try to keep my eyes open to read till the end. When blurriness forced me to surrender to sleep, I set the book aside quite reluctantly. The next afternoon I was able to seize the story once more (after kicking butt on the house and occupying the kids so I could give my full attention to my reading enjoyment). I finished the book in short time and LOVED it. I saw, understood, and appreciated so much that I had missed before, and even though I had seen a few film versions of the story already, I was captivated by the book details and incidents that were left out of them. Now I was on fire to watch the entire BBC film...

Did I mention that Mike is in Florida? Oh yes, so I had the time to do what I wished (aside from taking care of the seven kids of course...). So, that night after they were asleep or in beds reading I began my movie marathon of Pride & Prejudice, and even though I had just finished the book, I was consumed by the film as I amazed at how well the film makers and cast captured Jane Austen's work on screen in an accurate, true light... nothing was left out... nothing! I never wanted to see it end! I was most fascinated by Jennifer Ehle, who played Elizabeth and how she was without a doubt born to play the role of Elizabeth Bennet - the way she captured her was nothing less than astonishing, and Colin Firth was truly the best Mr. Darcy I could ever imagine on screen as well. (Keep in mind I have seen all other film versions of this book previously.) Be sure to watch the film trailer above created by a devoted fan.

I immediately got online (mmm, around 2am) to see if any sequels had been written - huh! Check this out if you dare! I don't even know where to begin!?? After doing some online reading I am in fear of becoming what is known as a "JA Junkie"... but would that truly be so bad I guess? I even found a quiz to help you discover which Pride and Prejudice character you are ... My score was most close with Jane (sweet, sweet, angelic Jane) - can you believe that??? It may say something about the accurateness of the quiz huh? (Oh, next I was closest to Elizabeth.)

If you'd like to hear the first chapter of this delightful book read aloud (in a most creative way)... go here.

Anyway... tonight I rented the new to video film Becoming Jane . I'll let you know how it is!

Next Day:
Okay... I watched it. To sum it up, I had a difficult time getting into it because I just did not like it initially. I actually stopped the film for awhile and did some chores, then resumed it. After this break to readjust my mind about what to expect I was able to enjoy it as "just an entertaining movie". Which it was, and there were some very moving parts in it, but as far as a true representation on Austen it was lacking. My sentiments lie with this reviewer. If you are just seeking a romantic film, you'll enjoy it. If you are seeking authentic Austen adjust your thinking or leave it on the shelf.

I think I'll give these a peek! Wish I could've caught them all...

"The Complete Jane Austen" on Masterpiece Theatre (PBS):

Jan 13

Jan 20
Northanger Abbey

Jan 27
Mansfield Park

Feb 3
Miss Austen Regrets

Feb 10-24
Pride and Prejudice (3 2-hour episodes)

Mar 23

Mar 30-Apr 6
Sense and Sensibility (2 90-minute episodes)

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