Book Reviews of The Jane Austen Book Club

The Jane Austen Book Club
The Jane Austen Book Club
Author: Karen Joy Fowler
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ISBN-13: 9780452286535
ISBN-10: 0452286530
Publication Date: 4/26/2005
Pages: 304
Rating:
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 503

3 stars, based on 503 ratings
Publisher: Plume
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

94 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Just finished reading this book this weekend and would have to say this book gets a "skip it" review by me. I had checked it out of the library (prior to joining paperbackswap) as I had seen it on a shelf at B&N store. Please note I have not read through any Jane Austen books myself, I have skipped around P&P, but didn't read all of it.

The Jane Austen Book Club story itself is sweet, even though it was hard to keep the characters names straight. Had the title been "A tribute to Jane Austen and EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about her books and references to her books" then I would have been warned. There were just too many instances where I felt like I was left out on the story because of the continual references to Austen's work itself and there was an implied importance to the story that was lost on me.

The author is creative and talented, just didn't work for me given my NON Austen background. It appears to me if you are a Jane Austen fan having READ all of her books and know all of her characters you would love this book, as it would give you the opportunity to vicariously be in a modern day book club with her books as the centerpiece.

The book did bring up some names of some science fiction authors that I will check out.

This is a book I would not recommend to my friends who have limited leisure time to read, nor would I recommend it to anyone who isn't familiar with Austen's works, UNLESS you want to dig in and start learning all of it.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
I was surprised at how much I liked this book. I hate to say it but anything with 'book club' in the title makes me think the book might be a bit trite; but I was pleasantly surprised. I loved the characters, and the way the author tied in Austen but didn't overdo it and make the book inaccessible. It really is a great story as well as a contemporary tribute to the essence of Jane Austen's writing. Highly recommended.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 41 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Even though I've only read one Jane Austen book I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and the characters were likable.Unlike other books I've read centered around book groups the characters were easy to keep track of and their lives were interwined which made the book flow together.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 46 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Quick fun read. Good for the beach, or a Saturday morning during the winter. Has synopsis' of Austen's books. Interesting, though simple characters. Guess the focus was on Austen more than the book club members.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This was a fun quick read. Especially good if you happen to know all the Jane Austen books, but the author includes a synopsis of each book along with all kinds of interesting commentary.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 148 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I really enjoyed this book...six people are a part of an Austen-all-the-time book club. Through reading Jane Austen's six books, the book club members reveal more of themselves to the reader. As a lover of Jane Austen's work, I enjoyed reading this book...if nothing else, it made me want to read Austen's classics once again!
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 27 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Fowler does so terrific a job of bringing her characters to life that Austen's work falls away like a husk. It's an impressive feat of homage, since Fowler essentially borrows Austen's great themes...and makes them her own.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Very cute and interesting for such a short read. I found that I was very invested in the characters extremely quickly. I love the conversations about Jane Austen's books too.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Even though I knew nothing about Jane Austen, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and the stories of the individuals portrayed within.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 69 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I had been avoiding this book because I've managed to live this long and never read a Jane Austen novel...and I was an English major! I was worried that the book was going to be more about the books than the characters. While there were a few parts that would have been more fun if I had read Austen's works, this is not a novel about Jane Austen, but the six people who are reading her.

I loved how each chapter was a window into a different character's life and really enjoyed getting to know them individually and seeing how they worked in the group's dynamics.

A satisfying read that has, of course, made me want to read Austen, which I think will make the book club happy.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 55 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is a dry, witty, satirical, slender little story that made me pause and re-read certain sentences again, asking myself, "Did Fowler really go there?" Indeed, she did. The book focuses on a group of middle-class Californians, mostly women, who meet every month in an "All Jane Austen, All the Time" book club. The characters' reflections on Jane Austen's books offer insights into the choices they've made about their own lives. (The book is related in the plural first-person viewpoint, as "we," a brilliant strategy.) The book contains many stories nestled within stories, which makes it a little digressive, but hang on, it's worth following any of Fowler's side-roads. The post-modern twists are wonderfully funny, rather than annoying. (For example, the book club members in the book pose some book club questions about the book in which they have appeared at the very end. So don't stop when you think the narrative's done, keep reading.) While I think the book has got so many strands going every which way that there are still some sticking out at the end, I really enjoyed myself while reading it. This isn't a hilarious, knee-slapping comedy, it's more a comedy of manners (yes, I suppose I'll have to allude to Austen). And like Austen, it doesn't just skim the surface; it leaves little cuts after it delivers its sharp little observations.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I took this book because the reviews indicated that it was about the relationship of the group. I was very disappointed. I was difficult to read and enjoy for be because I am not a Jane Austen fan and there was too much about her books and not enough about the relationships of the people in the group. The book to not flow well for me. I would suggest that if you are going to read that you have some appreciation for Jane Austen as well.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A must read for any Jane Austin fan. I was disappointed with how little Jane Austin was really in the story, but it's a fun read anyway.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 293 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed this book. A group of women, and one man, get together and form a book club, reading only works by Jane Austen. We hear their stories, broken down by month. Each month they meet at a different home to discuss one of the books. Interesting group of characters, interesting stories. I watched the movie, based upon the book, and while it was ok, the book was just so much better.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Not quite enough evolvement of characters; really helps to be a Jane Austen reader
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 43 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book was a quick read for me. However I didn't really like the way it was written. Each chapter the book club discusses another Jane Austen book and whoever hosts that meeting, you get random stories about that person. This book made me want to revisit Jane Austen's books myself.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I liked this book, however I had not read anything by Jane Austen at the time. If you are familiar with Jane Austen, you will appreciate and enjoy this book much more.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was ho-hum -- I don't know what the fuss was when it came out. I did not like some of the characters or their choices. Mediocre writing.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Austen lovers will enjoy this book, though it isn't quite as engaging as I'd hoped it would be. Still, overall an enjoyable read.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 136 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A witty meditation on how the books we shoose, choose us too.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
It was OK...I would have preferred more character development and less dissertation on the works of Jane Austen.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 237 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
If you are looking for interesting reading ON Jane.... don't look here! The only reason this is called The Jane Austen Book Club is because once a month the members meet to discuss Jane's books. Except they really don't get discussed, not really. This book is really about the lives of the members of the club...Jane, not so much!
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 30 more book reviews
I enjoyed this book and am now thinking of reading all the Jane Austen books, at some point anyway!
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 149 more book reviews
Nice story of friends who meet to discuss the works of Jane Austen.
As the book club progresses, we follow the ups and downs of their lives.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 132 more book reviews
Very pleasant read, not as deep as Jane Austen but equally readable
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 48 more book reviews
I really thought I would enjoy this book and the connections that would ensue between six people who all shared a common interest. Instead it was book reviews of each of Jane Austen's novels seperated by biographies of the character's past lives. I found it really hard to connect to alot of the characters, in fact only a month after reading it I can't tell you any of their names! It wasn't a terrible book, just disappointing, it just moved slower than I expected and wasn't what I expected it to be.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 13 more book reviews
I think you have to be an Austen fan to really appreciate this book; I'm not, and had trouble following all of the allusions. Good luck!
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 7 more book reviews
This book gets a lot of good reviews so perhaps I am in the minority, as one who did not care for it. As a Jane Austen fan, I was looking forward to reading this, but the Austen book club was simply a device to set the stage for relationships and romance in the style of "Pride and Prejudice." I found it formulaic, characters dull and uninspiring -- in fact I did not finish the book. But again, I've heard that lots of readers have enjoyed this book and clearly it's gotten a lot of press - so maybe I'm just picky.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 6 more book reviews
A great little read. Especially if you like Jane Austen and everything associated with her novels.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 32 more book reviews
A good book to curl up with on a winter's day...
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 19 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this book. I haven't read all of Austen's books, (most, but not all) and still, I could see the cleverness of the author. She weaves parts of the classic novels into the personalities and lives of her characters. I really enjoyed this book - much different from run of the mill fiction.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 7 more book reviews
A portrait of the six members of a book club who gather to read the works of Jane Austen. If you're an Austen fan, you'll enjoy this book.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 22 more book reviews
I think any Jane Austen fan would get something out of this book. It was an enjoyable, light read.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 4 more book reviews
Good book...worth reading. Has some interesting characters.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 37 more book reviews
I bought the book because of the title. I've always loved Jane Austen. I loved it because I have always found it interesting to ponder why we read and how we engage with a book.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 167 more book reviews
i wasnt sure about this book. ive never read anything by jane austen (i know, i know- i just dont freaking understand the language. lol). but i really really enjoyed the characters in this novel. except for some reason, i imagined them as black, and just couldnt accept that they were white. i also loved that theres a man, and a lesbian in the club. its just a great story of love, friendship, mettings, peoples changing lives, and how they grow and stay together. the group meets each month to discuss a novel by austen and it goes from there. i still have no urge to read an austen novel, but its great to see how the classics affect even fictional characters.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 1099 more book reviews
Jane Austen's name and a few quotes from her novels were not enough to save this plodding, uninteresting book. The characters were unbelievable, the plot glacial. After re-reading one paragraph several times, trying to figure out what the author was trying to say, I gave up.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 63 more book reviews
I really loved this book. It is not the genre I usually read, but it was a gift and I am so glad I read it! It's a wonderul story and a quick read whether you love Austen or not (which I do!)
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 4 more book reviews
I love Jane Austen, so I thought this would be a great book. I kept waiting for something to happen. It was really boring.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 34 more book reviews
A peep into the lives of 6 people (5 women and 1 man) who meet to discuss Jane Austen novels. A light and enjoyable read.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 55 more book reviews
Enjoyed this with my book group. Interesting characters, their relationships as revealed while preparing for book group discussion.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 284 more book reviews
A wonderful character-driven novel of women (and 1 lone male) who meet each month to discuss a Jane Austen novel. Each book has parallels to something in their lives. Includes a synopsis of Austen's novels so it is not necessary to have read her books to enjoy this one.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 102 more book reviews
Great read. My bookclub read this book. I loved it. Tells the stories of a group of people in a bookclub.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 9 more book reviews
A bit light, but enjoyable.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 17 more book reviews
Fun book to read for a book club / discussion group
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 52 more book reviews
The way it was written threw me off a little, and I never quite settled into the narration, though I suspect it was an homage to Austen's work itself. Even if you're not the biggest Jane Austen fan in the world, this is still pretty enjoyable.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 39 more book reviews
An enjoyable, light read. Especially good if you have read Austen. The extra features (summary of novels, reviews, etc.) were very interesting.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 37 more book reviews
"The Jane Austen Book Club" is the story of a group of five women (and one man) who decide to read all of Jane Austen's novels and discuss them. Their purpose is partially to take Sylvia's mind off her divorce. "The Jane Austen Book Club" is more about the lives of the characters though than discussing Austen's novels. The story tells us much about the current situation of the characters and also a lot about their past.

It is the stories of the past that kept me interested in "The Jane Austen Book Club". The challenge though is that nothing is every resolved. Not even really in the end. And the writing style did not entice me to feel anything for the characters - no sympathy, no hope, no joy, no excitement. Nothing.

I think I was expecting more from it. I love Jane Austen, so I was convinced that "The Jane Austen Book Club" would be a good read. It wasn't. Let's hope the movie (released on DVD on February 5th) will be better than the book.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 78 more book reviews
I did not enjoy this book and could not finish it. The character development was incomplete to me and the attempted tie in to Jane Austen's novels really didn't work. In total I couldn't find a reason to take time to finish it.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 79 more book reviews
A small group of people start gathering regularly to share thoughts on the books they read. Over time, they also share the changes they experience in life.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 84 more book reviews
Wow, what a great book. I loved it! The characters are really well written, you can picture them and all their quirks so easily. Their inter-relationships are complex and fascinating. The chapters follow Jane Austen's novels and each reflects its theme, but builds on it. Just a wonderful read. A must for any Austen fan.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 58 more book reviews
This book was just OK. I'm a Jane Austen lover, so the title drew me in. I found the story disjointed b/c each chapter is from a different character's perspective. I never felt invested or interested in any of them. The movie was actually much better than the book (and I NEVER say that!) Skip the book and rent the movie.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 31 more book reviews
I heard so much about it and thought fluff... it wasn't it was good, quick and fun. Lighter then my normal fare an everyday book that you can't wait to get back to. The movie does look trite and judging by the actors on this book cover not true to the book!
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on
Good for those who have had book club experiences and love Jane Austen.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 12 more book reviews
Chick lit, but well written, engaging, and enjoyable. Unlike many chick lit books, I think this one might just have enough complexity for me to want to re-read it at some point and although I don't agree with all of the author's (or her characters') analyses of Austen, it was an interesting extra layer.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 4 more book reviews
I wanted to like the characters but I couldn't relate to them and it seemed to go on and on without much happening. So many people loved this book...I couldn't get through it.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 4 more book reviews
Fluff, it's fine for summer reading. It did actually inspire me to read some Jane Austen which I really loved!
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 6 more book reviews
This was an alright book. Easy to read, but not much in the way of storyline. The entire book was basically filled with backstory and an awful lot of character development. The few plot lines that were actually taking place all fell together magically at the last meeting of the book club.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 6 more book reviews
A fictional account of a book club in central California. As its members meet to discuss Jane Austen's novels, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 35 more book reviews
(some small spoilers)

I was not impressed with this book. I think there was potential for a good book, but it was poorly executed. It felt like many things were left unresolved--for instance is Prudie really happy in her marriage or not? And many of the Austen elements the author brought into the book were poorly done--the letter Daniel wrote to Sylvia saying he wanted to come home was not nearly as riveting as the letters in Persuasion or Pride and Prejudice.

After talking to many people, I have heard the movie is really good. I think it would be better to just watch this movie and not waste the time reading the book.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 9 more book reviews
Love loved loved this, much more than I expected. Want to read more of Karen Joy Fowler's stuff now.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 114 more book reviews
I personally didn't enjoy this book much. If you are not a great fan of Jane Austen (or very familar with her books) this book will probably not be very interesting to you either. A lot of the book is the characters discussing their thoughts on her books. I didn't really get into this at all.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 24 more book reviews
Not a very good book. Came close to giving up on it and when it was finished wished I had. Light is not the word for this, there is no real character development and not much of a story line. If anything it made me like jane austen less.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 355 more book reviews
5 southern Californians meet to discuss the novels of Jane Austin, applying parts of her books to the problems in their own lives.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 32 more book reviews
Five women and one man in Sacramento meet every other month to discuss the novels of Jane Austen. But--- while I didn't care for their discussions of the novels, I haven't read Jane Austen myself. In the new year, among other reading goals, I'm going to read me some Jane Austen. This was a lousy, uninvolving novel, with shallow uninteresting characters. But if it shames me into finally reading Jane Austen, then that's a good thing, right?
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 7 more book reviews
Yes, I love Jane Austen, but I'm not running out and buying every Pride and Prejudice rip-off out there. I was skeptical of this book ever since i heard about it and so never read it until after I saw the movie on cable. I enjoyed the movie so much that I had to see if the book was just as good. I completely underestimated the book. I thought is was going to be one of those trite novels about different generations of women sitting around sipping tea and reading Austen and learning more about how sensitive they are. Zzzzz.
So, yes, there are different generations of women, but Fowler throws a man in there too! Instead of ripping off Austen, she pays tribute to how timeless the novels are in how they are echoes in the lives of the people who are reading the books today. Really good!
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 767 more book reviews
A sublime comedy of contemporary manners, this is the novel Jane Austen might well have written had she lived in twenty-first- century California. Nothing ever moves in a straight line in Karen Joy Fowler's fiction, and in her latest, the complex dance of modern love has never been so devious or so much fun. Six Californians join to discuss Jane Austen's novels. Over the six months they meet, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens. With her finely sighted eye for the frailties of human behavior and her finely tuned ear for the absurdities of social intercourse, Fowler has never been wittier nor her characters more appealing. The result is a delicious dissection of modern relationships.

Dedicated Austenites will delight in unearthing the echoes of Austen that run through the novel, but most readers will simply enjoy the vision and voice that, despite two centuries of separation, unite two great writers of brilliant social comedy.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 167 more book reviews
Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors, so why wouldn't I enjoy a book in which the characters find themselves loving, reading, and trying to live up to Ms. Austen's ideals. A bit slow at the beginning, but once you get into the characters lives I was finding myself routing for them to find love, find friendship and take some risks! Live a bit!
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 36 more book reviews
Couldn't get into this one. I'm sure somebody liked it though.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 21 more book reviews
Smart, funny, easy read. One reviewer says, "If I could eat this novel, I would." She demonstrates that follies of human nature are as prevalent today as they were two hundred years ago.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 76 more book reviews
Couldn't finish it... I tried but just found it slow. I am a huge Jane Austen fan but couldn't get into the characters here. Hate to say it but saw the movie instead to see what I missed (and that wasn't one of my must haves either).
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 24 more book reviews
As I'm not an Austen fan, I didn't enjoy this much. This was the first time I've read a book and really disliked the characters without exception.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 64 more book reviews
No particular plot line to the book. The characters were all pretty bland. And NOTHING happened in the book.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 29 more book reviews
Ok, I love Jane Austen, but this one just wasnt for me.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 32 more book reviews
I got this book through paperbackswap.com and decided to move it to the top of my to be read pile since I noticed my sister wanted to read it too. So, I tried to get through this quickly so I could give it to her over Christmas when we would see each other. I enjoyed the novel, even though it's been years since I read my last Austen novels, so I was quite happy to have the synopses of each Austen book in the back. That being said, I didn't feel that you needed to be fully intimate with each book to appreciate the novel, though I'm sure devotees of Miss Austen will have a deeper appreciation. The characters were interesting (Allegra was my favorite), and I found myself somewhat involved with them, though it wasn't a novel that will impress itself on you. It was a light read for me, but I hope my sister enjoys it!
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 20 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this bood.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 8 more book reviews
Fabulous - cuts through the current trend in Hollywood Austen stylings
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 16 more book reviews
This was an interesting look at relationships and how they form.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 8 more book reviews
Enjoyable read!
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 2 more book reviews
My Book club throughly enjoyed this book and we watched the movie after we read the book. It was a nice light easy read and we like all the Chacters in the book
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 174 more book reviews
Terrible with a capitol T
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 22 more book reviews
couldn't get into it. might appeal to the more erudite types.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 82 more book reviews
I enjoyed this book, very light, nothing to sad, happy ending for the most part.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 29 more book reviews
Not as good a book as I expected.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on
great chic lit!
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 75 more book reviews
an o.k. story
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 11 more book reviews
A story of a book club, over the course of a year.
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The story of several women and one man whose lives revolve around Jane Austen's stories.
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Great Beach Book
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 23 more book reviews
Members of a book club read the works of Jane Austen and the author uses the club as a way to bring these very varied cahacters together.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 86 more book reviews
Given to me by a friend who knows I like to swap books here. I had listened to this on tape a ways back and was lukewarm on it - I think it would have helped if I'd read more Jane Austen. Chick Lit of the Oprah variety - what is called Women's Fiction.
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on
"Fowler's funniest fiction yet, a novel about how we engage with a novel. You don't have to be a student of Jane Austen to enjoy it, either...Lovers of Austen will relish this book, but I envy any reader who comes to it unfamiliar with her. There's no better introduction."
reviewed The Jane Austen Book Club on + 106 more book reviews
NY Times Bestseller
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Brand New! But it's hard back is that ok??