Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations

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***First Impressions

by Marilyn Sachs

Reviewed April 24, 2006.
A Deborah Brodie Book, Roaring Brook Press, New Milford Connecticut, 2006.  117 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (J MCN F SAC).

This book is on the young end of young adult fiction.  It opens when 15-year-old straight-A student Alice gets a C+ on her paper on Pride and Prejudice.  She feels that the book is a tragedy, since Mary, the middle child (just like Alice) finds no love in her life like her sisters do.

Alice is also the third of five sisters, so she sympathizes with Mary, who’s simply a target of humor in Jane Austen’s book.  Alice gets a chance to rewrite her paper over Christmas break, and a nice boy named Kevin offers to help her with it.  (Are there really fifteen-year-old boys out there who would like Pride and Prejudice so much that they’d go to the library to check out another Jane Austen book?  I don’t really believe that.)

Alice takes another look at the book and tries to give Mary a happier ending.  Meanwhile, she goes on her first date and seems to be getting her first boyfriend.  Pride and Prejudice makes her look at all this differently, and she ends up as a fan.

I didn’t really believe the set-up.  In the first place, I think Alice’s taking Mary’s perspective was very creative, and a teacher shouldn’t grade her down simply because she didn’t agree with the conclusion.  She should be graded on how well she supported her own point of view.  Next, I don’t really believe how much Kevin likes Pride and Prejudice, and he’s not portrayed as showing enthusiasm simply to impress Alice.  Finally, I don’t see why Alice would like the book so much the second time if she hadn’t liked it the first time.

However, I’m a sucker for these Jane Austen take-offs.  I have three more of them checked out and ready to read!  They seem to be all the rage, ever since The Jane Austen Book Club was a bestseller.  It was fun to read one for a younger age group.  I would have liked Alice’s own romance to have some of the mistaken impressions as in the romance in Pride and Prejudice.  But it was still a fun and quick read.

Reviews of books by Jane Austen:
Pride and Prejudice
Northanger Abbey

Reviews of books related to Jane Austen:
Flirting with Pride and Prejudice, edited by Jennifer Crusie
A Jane Austen Education, by William Deresiewicz
Sense and Sensibility, by Joanna Trollope
Northanger Abbey, by Val McDermid
Emma, by Alexander McCall Smith
Keeping the Castle, by Patrice Kindl
For Darkness Shows the Stars, by Diana Peterfreund
An Assembly Such As This:  Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, Book 1, by Pamela Aidan
Duty and Desire:  Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, Book 2, by Pamela Aidan
These Three Remain:  Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, Book 3, by Pamela Aidan
Jane Austen in Scarsdale, by Paula Marantz Cohen
Jane and the Man of the Cloth, by Stephanie Barron
Jane and the Wandering Eye, by Stephanie Barron
Jane and the Prisoner of Wool House,
by Stephanie Barron
Jane and the Ghosts of Netley,
by Stephanie Barron
Austenland, by Shannon Hale
Midnight in Austenland, by Shannnon Hale
Death Comes to Pemberley, by P. D. James
Pride and Prescience, by Carrie A. Bebris
Suspense and Sensibility, by Carrie A. Bebris
North by Northanger, by Carrie Bebris
Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen, by Fay Weldon
The Jane Austen Book Club, by Karen Joy Fowler

Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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