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Book Review: Becoming Jane – The Wit and Wisdom of Jane Austen by Anne Newgarden

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Becoming Jane is a collection of quotes from the published writings and personal letters of Jane Austen. Austen’s novels have been adapted to movies, plays, and almost any other form of art one can think of. Most recent was the film Becoming Jane, starring Anne Hathaway, which inspired this book. The collection, edited by Anne Newgarden, is broken down into fifteen topics, ranging from family to beauty and fashion and, of course, includes reading, writing and love.

Austen was born a clergyman’s daughter in Hampshire, England. Her brief life of 41 years garnered her six published novels, including Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Emma. While she didn't live to see her last two novels published, her work is still celebrated worldwide today.

The reader gets an in-depth look into Austen's life through quotes from letters she penned to her sister and other family members. These are mixed with quotes from her published writings and even a few unpublished works referred to as her juvenilia.

As a big Jane Austen fan, I found Becoming Jane enlightening as well as fun to read. The editor notes that she has done her best to keep Austen's spelling and punctuation, which are at times "quite unique," intact. This makes it all the more enjoyable for the reader, particularly if you are an Austen fan.

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  • I really love Jane Austen but I looked at this one in the bookstore and was disappointed. They just wanted too much money for such a thin book with too few quotes. If I find it one a bargain rack somewhere I’ll pick it up… but otherwise I’m not sure I will.

    I did pick up the other day a copy of ‘Me and Mr. Darcy’ and have read and heard really good things about that one. Have you read it yet?

  • I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It included a lot of interesting information about her life that I wasn’t yet aware of.

    I haven’t read ‘Me and Mr. Darcy’ yet, but it’s on my wishlist! 🙂