#CBR6 Review #14: Austenland by Shannon Hale

Are you a sad cat lady? Do you fantasize about wearing pantaloons every time you thumb through your dog-eared copy of Pride and Prejudice? Have you worn out your copy of the Colin Firth DVD and hide it in the plants because you think it’s porn? If your answer to all of these questions is YES, then by all means, Austenland is for you!!!!

Okay, I can’t continue this farce. That book pissed me off ten ways to Sunday. Shall we count the ways it aggravated my rage?

1. Jane Hayes is a 34-year-old Singleton (in the words of my friend Bridget Jones, whom I don’t hate) whose ideal is Mr. Darcy. So much so that she cannot, in fact, sustain a normal relationship with a man. All men are held up to the candle of Colin-Firth-as-Darcy’s white hot flame. I have so many problems with this premise:

A. Has she seen The English Patient? That will cure her Colin Firth sex fantasies. Seriously, he’s kind of skeezy when he’s a jilted husband. Colin, I love you. Call me.

B. Did she stop reading at Pride and Prejudice? Because I know more than one woman who will gladly accept Captain Wentworth or Henry Tilney into her pantaloons. I mean, for realz:


Looking at Feild-as-Tilney, my stays have already magically (and conveniently) loosened themselves.

C. Does having Regency sex fantasies automatically disqualify you from being able to have a normal sex life like a normal human being? No. It does not. Let’s be real here.

2. Jane Hayes hides her copy of Pride and Prejudice because she thinks it’s porn. Awwwwww. She’s so sheltered. She’s probably the kind of lady who thinks that saying “bloody” is okay swearing (because it’s period appropriate!), and is too embarrassed to say “penis,” even though it’s an anatomically correct word. I really hate that this infantilized view of sexuality is being perpetrated, and Austen is becoming the fingerprints on the gun, so to speak. Again, I know more than one woman who enjoys Austen but also enjoys dancing and/or naked men:


I get repeat, covert viewings of Magic Mike, because let’s face it, you watch it because you want to see a glimpse of Joe Mangienello’s penis or Matt Bomer’s sculpted buns more than you are a fan of Steven Soderbergh (which is okay. Not judging). I do not get hiding Pride and Prejudice in your potted plant. Unless, of course, you masturbate furiously to the Darcy-wet-t-shirt-scene and feel guilty about pleasuring yourself. Which, c’mon. Everyone has their thing. I am not judging you for having Colin Firth sex fantasies.


But still. Not actual porn.

3-10 The rest of the book is a blandly boring blur of rom-com clichés. Of course, we all get to enjoy the “fun” of several hot guys competing for the exciting-as-oatmeal heroine. Hooray. Seriously, I am tired of dishwater heroines living these dream fantasies. Give me a girl I can root for.

And this is why I do not read Austen knockoffs.

*Don’t even get me started on the Austenland movie.


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Filed under #CBR6, Jane Austen

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