An interview of a Janeite by Sarah Jessica via @DarkJaneAusten
Dear Jane Austen, most admired and beloved writer,
Every month, my parents gave us a book-of-the-month to read. They would tailor it to each child’s personality. In my formative years, I was more of a tomboy who would rather eat dirt than read any book. I grew up with my parents telling me that ‘if I didn’t start acting like a lady, no boy would want to marry me’. What of this to do with me, I thought? I ignored their future visions of marital bliss and continued along my silly road of rebellious tomfoolery.
The presenting of my newest read came after a delicious supper of scones as dessert. My father handed a novel called Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I read the prologue and was utterly appalled and grieved at the heart! I was to read a 17th-century witty romance novel. My brothers were to read a C.S. Lewis series, my eldest sister was handed an Agatha Christie mystery novel. Why on earth did I get a romance novel? Are the shades of this brummie brat thus to be polluted?
How absurd, how meanly I thought of my parents! How dare they serve me my favorite dessert as if to butter-me-up! Ironically, the title was most appropriate, I showed much pride and prejudice towards such a ridiculous book and its author! Blimey Jane Austen! There was no way possible such a young girl, to whom in her time was not allowed to wear trousers, would have a clue about love and adult relationships!
I began right from Chapter 1, page 1, first line: It is a truth universally acknowledge that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.. (dear Lord, did my Dad write this line or Jane?). In any case, I continued through the book with a ravishing speed. From the antics of Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Darcy’s snobbery, Mr. Bingley’s love of Jane, to the rebellious behaviour of Lydia—Pride and Prejudice was a fantastic book! The novel was witty, humorous, scandalous and romantic! Never before had a book opened by literary eyes in a most profound manner.
Jane Austen –you ruined my life…for the better!
I was bestowed soon thereafter, that Jane wrote more books, poems, letters, and prayers. I read them all, studied them all, and devoured all-things Austenesque. I began to develop a clear understanding of being a woman and a writer. Jane Austen helped me to understand the faults, follies, loves, and terms of endearment in relationships. I began to people watch, to observe their behaviour and to sit in silence with just my pen, writing pad and my imagination.
I thank my parents for introducing me to Austen and I thank most ardently Jane Austen for helping develop propriety both in person and in writing.
Austenesque love to all,