Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict
Laurie Viera Rigler
Generally, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler, is not a book I would choose to read, but I was given the opportunity to get a copy for review and I figured what the heck, the premise sounds interesting enough. Jane Mansfield wakes up one morning and realizes that she is no longer living her life in England in 1813. She now inhabits the body of Courtney Stone, a thirty-something woman in 2009 whose life is somewhat in shambles. She has recently broken up with her fiancé after discovering that he was cheating on her with the cake baker for their impending wedding. Courtney has recently also become enmired in debt while working a dead end job as a personal assistant for a tyrannical boss named David.
Jane is thus forced to disentangle the issues in Courtney’s life all while becoming acclimated to the change of 200 years. Jane is forced to learn the basic skills that most of us take for granted, such as using a phone, going to work, and driving a car. I know I would be having a full blown panic attack, but Jane is quite happy to immerse herself in the new millennium and her curiosity outweighs her anxiety. Such was my issue with Jane—I just found her to cavalier given the circumstances. Perhaps it’s just me, but I couldn’t fathom her levelheadedness. It made her character seem a bit trite and unbelievable.
Generally, I attempt not to give spoilers to books, but in this instance, I feel that I must discuss two major plot points that I also had issue with. If you plan on reading this book and don’t want me to spoil it for you, then I suggest you skip this paragraph
-My first issue was with the fact that everyone was encouraging Jane/Courtney to quit her job. Yes, David did behave in an a ridiculous manner, but the irresponsibility of just walking out of a job when you have shut off notices and no other job lined up is just asinine to me. The only character that agreed with my viewpoint was Courtney’s mother, although she was portrayed in a slightly negative way, which really added no value to this issue. Sure, it worked out in the end for Jane/Courtney, but it was obviously not a realistic scenario, which, given the entire subject of the book, is NOT a good argument, so I don’t know why I even bothered delving into it!
-My second issue was with the very end of the book, when Wes and Jane/Courtney finally realize their love for each other (or I guess the latter realized it—the former had known it for awhile). Jane explains to Wes that she is no longer Courtney, despite being in her body and living her life. She claims to love Wes anyway, although she hasn’t known him long at all. And Wes tells her he loves her anyway. What?? The person you claim to love now says she’s been a different person for the past few weeks and you love her anyway? It seemed fickle to me—Wes loves Courtney but now he loves Jane as Courtney, despite the fact that Jane is a totally different person who just inhabits Courtney’s body. It soured me a bit on this book, truthfully.
However, despite those complaints, I did enjoy this book. I liked the idea that we are all so wrapped up in our lives that we can’t objectively see what we’re doing. Jane came in and was able to “fix” Courtney’s problems because Jane had a different perspective and a fresh outlook that Courtney didn’t have. It’s enough to make you look at your own life and wonder how you fit into that scenario because it makes sense. It’s impossible to think a person could look objectively at his or her life when they live it every day and become so involved. So for a “fluff” book, Rude Awakenings did ask some questions that were very meaningful.