Friday, July 27, 2012

According to Jane by Marilyn Brant

Genre: Contemporary Fiction | Romance

In Marilyn Brant's smart, wildly inventive debut, one woman in search of herself receives advice from the ultimate expert in matters of the heart...

It begins one day in sophomore English class, just as Ellie Barnett's teacher is assigning Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. From nowhere comes a quiet "tsk" of displeasure. The target: Sam Blaine, the cute bad boy who's teasing Ellie mercilessly, just as he has since kindergarten. Entirely unbidden, as Jane might say, the author's ghost has taken up residence in Ellie's mind, and seems determined to stay there.

Jane's wise and witty advice guides Ellie through the trauma of adolescence and beyond, serving as the voice she trusts, usually more than her own. Years and boyfriends come and go, but Jane's counsel is constant, and on the subject of Sam, quite insistent. Stay away, Jane demands. He is your Mr. Wickham.

Still, everyone has something to learn about love -- perhaps even Jane herself. And lately, the voice in Ellie's head is being drowned out by another, urging her to look beyond all she thought she knew and seek out her very own, very unexpected, happy ending...

"Every girl wants the f**king Cinderella story..."

When Ellie Barnett first began reading Pride & Prejudice for her high school curriculum while muddling through her love-hate relationship with the aloof student, Sam Blaine, the author to many classic romances came alive in her head ... literally. As much as Ellie disliked the inconvenience of having the ghost of Jane Austen as a second conscience critiquing and persuasively advising her every choice; the two quickly became a solid force along Ellie's journey through her life's various relationships. However, when her longing to find "The One" began to slowly disintegrate as she "emerged from [her] cocoon of adolescence [and] transitioned into young adulthood", Ellie realized early on that life would not always go as intended. She must be willing to let go of what she had planned, so she could accept the life that was waiting for her.

But, sometimes that is easier said than done!

Thus, after one too many dysfunctional relationships (where she would always try to find something of Sam in each guy she dated) and watching close friends/cousins get married/have kids/settle down, Ellie tried to keep up an optimistic outlook for her future love-life and her desire to one day marry, even though Jane claimed she "would have been considered old in [her] day."  To add insult to injury, the "erroneous belief  that [she] had more control over [her] destiny that [she] actually [had]" was an ugly truth  Ellie learned as she aged.  And, with age should come maturity and a more level-headed way of thinking ... or so Ellie thought when she attempted to handle the latest curve the Universe threw her way ... crossing paths again with Sam.

This was an endearing coming-of-age tale for Ellie as she experienced the joys and hardships of life (ex. dating, break-ups, family relationships, etc.) from her high-school years to around her mid-30s -- except she had the romantic wisdom of Jane Austen in her head the whole time. Odd, but quite unique and clever! I wholeheartedly enjoyed the overall tale and became emotionally involved with Ellie's life throughout.  The flow of the story with quick flashbacks really kept the tale alive and freshly entertaining. Lots of wonderful character development (something I crave in a story) that revolved round the moral of the book: Timing -- for sometimes people are too young/naive to become too series too soon.  Meaning: things will eventually begin to happen when one is truly ready for it --- which was challenging, at first, for the protagonist to grasp. So, for anyone who has stopped believing in happy-ever-after, check out this book ... it was a surprisingly pleasing story about passion and hope! 

Review: Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Shelfari | LibraryThing | Amazon

Likes: An emotionally gripping story which oddly enough runs parallel to many single women lifestyles today as they struggle to plan out (the right?!?) future (ex. relationship struggles while hunting for "The One"). Plus, there were lots of fun 80's music montages that blended will with the characters/chapters.

Dislikes: It was strange how Ellie's pessimistic beliefs hit home ... especially for me, for I feel many women could easily relate to the same dark struggles she went through. Thus, Ellie's unenthusiastic statements kind of made me bitter along with her and when I was finished reading each night ---- so props to the story for personally affecting me that way!!

Chapter One/Paragraph One: "Almost seven years after Jane spoke to me, the August late-afternoon sun beat down on my head as I bolted from the Glen Forest Public Library. We'd been short-staffed again, with two people out on vacation and one last-minute sick call. And, while I loved my summer job--well, most of the time-- my day hadn't been the greatest, and I yearned for a calm, relaxing evening."

Favorite { Scene, Character or Setting }: Character
     Sam Blaine = SOB/Sam "the Obnoxious" Blaine, "S-A-M was shorthand for D-A-N-G-E-R", sinfully cute, annoying-as-hell, Mr. Cool, exuded experience, loved games, smart, intense, arrogant, smug, snotty teen, tall, dark-haired, cool blue eyes, "since kindergarten poked [Ellie] in the back with his pencil top and angered [her] with pesky comments", spent all 12 grades of school with Ellie and since they were kids together - they shared an intimate/personal history, studied to be a doctor, addicted to Top 40, "morphed into a rare combination of good-looking, athletic, brainy & popular", Jane considered him an insufferable, despicable man with intolerable rudeness. All in all, I loved Sam - he always kept Ellie on her toes!!!
Online Preview: Read an Excerpt


  1. awwwwaw this sounds so good!
    new follower!

  2. Thanks for visiting. New follower on your site as well. Cant' wait to check out the story there!!


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