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The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

About the book

Six people – five women and a man – meet once a month in California’s Central Valley to discuss Jane Austen’s novels. They are ordinary people, neither happy nor unhappy, but each of them is wounded in different ways, they are all mixed up about their lives and relationships. Over the six months they meet, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable – under the guiding eye of Jane Austen a couple of them even fall in love…

Reviewed by U3A Book Circle No 2:

A good proportion of the book is taken up with the life stories of those who attend the group. These are only moderately interesting. However, the use of quotations from Jane Austen’s novels is aptly done and the responses of her family and other writers are fascinating when they give their opinions about the books.

Star rating: ***

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8 thoughts on “The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler”

  1. Review by Ace of Spades Reading Group:
    Very American, we felt it was trivial, rambling and shallow. Nobody in the group really enjoyed it and we felt it was rather an insult to Jane Austen’s work.
    Star rating: **

  2. Review by Fareham Reading Group:
    Quite a pleasant read and I liked the way the chapters were laid out. The synopsis of Austen’s works was handy – but I didn’t really learn any more about Jane herself. My favourite novel is PERSUASION! The modern characters were quite interesting, but I did have to make a list of relationships and ages!
    Star rating: ***

  3. Review by New Forest/Waterside Theatre and Literature Reading Group:
    This book left most of us puzzled as to why it had been written. It seemed to a cumbersome vehicle for examining the lives of an odd collection of people, none of whom excited understanding. One redeeming feature was the ability of the author to produce amusing one –liner jokes which towards the end of the book ( for those who made it that far) did lighten the reading.
    Star rating: **

  4. Review by Museum Reading Group:
    We quite liked the format. The charac ters we didn’t really get to know and never found out why Grigg was really included. Two members said it improved on a re-read. One said she couldn’t be bothered to look at it again. The rest thought it a light read – fails enjoyable.
    Star rating: *

  5. Review by Lymington U3A:
    Generated wide ranging discussion. Jane Austen fans did not enjoy it. Some will go on to read Jane Austen. Little connection between JA and the characteristics of the club members.
    Star rating: **

  6. Review by Goodworth Clatford Reading Group:
    Several members found the book tedious, disjointed and found the langualge simple and not a well constructed book.
    Star rating: **

  7. 8 out of 8 of our book club did not enjoy this book. All found it tedious and couldn’t find much humour in the telling of this convoluted tale. The reference back to Jane Austen muddied the story and in our view was the weak part. We would not recommend it! We still wouldn’t want to rush and read Austen!
    * star

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