Mallory Ortberg, Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters
Mallory Ortberg, popular writer for websites such as The Hairpin and The Toast, has expanded her ingenious “Texts From” series into a book. What if the various authors, poets, and characters you studied in school had the ability to text? Hamlet would probably be a whiny teenager who refuses to come out of his room for dinner. William Carlos Williams would be constantly bugging his wife to bring home more plums from the grocery store. And Mrs. Bennet certainly wouldn’t miss an opportunity to urge her daughters to snag rich husbands! From Achilles to Virginia Woolf, Wuthering Heights to Sweet Valley High, nothing is safe from Ortberg’s satirical (and often punctuation-less) eye.
It’s hard to review humor because it’s so subjective: You either think it’s funny or you don’t. I’m definitely a fan of Ortberg’s style — the texts from Jane Eyre had me ROLLING the first time I read them! — so I enjoyed this book. I definitely think it helps to be familiar with the source material; most of the literary references are to pretty famous works, but there are also sections on The Hunger Games and The Baby-Sitters Club, so it’s a rather random, eclectic mix. The biggest criticism I have about the book is that it’s kind of one-note. The premise is funny, but there’s really nothing more to it. Basically, I don’t think it’s a book that I’d need to read over and over again, but it would be a great gift for someone who loves literature!
N.B. I received an ARC of this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. The publication date, per Amazon, is November 4.
4 thoughts on “Review: Texts from Jane Eyre”
Sounds entertaining! Reminds me of a book I recently read, “Dear Luke, We Need to Talk–Darth” Basically letters, journals, etc. from pop culture icons. It also was funny but somewhat one-note. I think it may be inevitable for the medium!
I think you’re right. Makes me wonder if this sort of one-joke idea is suited to book form at all, or if it should just be left to the Internet.
Humor is still one of the things I have the hardest time describing in reviews! I can tell you if I like it or not, but I often can’t tell you why and don’t have a lot of confidence in my ability to identify different kinds of humor. This sounds like a lot of fun!
I was definitely entertained! But you’re right, sometimes that’s really all you can say about humor. I’d describe Ortberg’s style as very deadpan, but I don’t know if that’s a terribly helpful adjective. 🙂 It’s pretty easy to find some of her stuff online if you want a sample!