Friday, July 13, 2007

Jane Austen through a man's eyes

Here's a funny quote from Dave Harvey's new book, When Sinners Say "I Do". I hear the book is really good.

I'm way too masculine to enjoy Jane Austen. Now, I realize that women usually read that as, "I'm not smart enough to get Jane Austen," and I suppose there may be some truth to that. But even if guys like me don't get the point, I've got to respect any author who can actually capture the imagination of an audience without mentioning a grenade-launcher. Even once. And I'm still way too masculine to enjoy Jane Austen.

In a touch of divine humor, God has given me a wife and two daughters who love everything Austen-esque. Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems to me that the plot is always the same. The only difference I can see is the name of the mansion.

If you've never read a Jane Austen or seen a movie adaptation, let me save you some time. Here's the plot. Start with an anxious, unmarried woman in late eighteenth-century England whose mom is wound up even tighter than she is. Bring in a clueless guy, also usually rich and unexplainably single, who doesn't know he needs a temperamental unmarried woman to make him normal. Throw in some eccentric characters, frilly clothes, a formal ball, and lots of soggy English countryside. End with a deliriously happy wedding, leaving the distinct impression that this couple will never know anything but harmonious marital bliss. Cut to the credits, cue the violins, go buy the soundtrack. That about sums it up.

Why doesn't anything happen in Jane Austen after the wedding? What about sequels? Here are a few post-wedding Austen stories I'd like to see:

Sense and Sensibility, Episode II - I Miss My Mom
Pride and Prejudice - The Sequel: Darcy's Hunting Buddies Move In
Emma Returns: The Matchmaker Strikes Again

I know...not likely. That's why I prefer guy flicks. They end at the right spot--usually when somebody dies. A Western never ends before the two main characters face off in the street, guns blazing. War movies don't end just as the bombing raid is taking off. And sports movies don't end until you see how the big game turned out. But in the world of Jane Austen, stories end at the altar, just when reality is about to come knocking. I don't get it.

By the way, I like Austen's novels, mainly due to the good and bad examples of men, women, and marriage.

HT: Tim Challies

1 comment:

Margaret in VA said...

That really tickled me!
My sons listened to Mr. Liethart on Austen years ago at a conference and he said, "Real men like Austen."
They didn't buy it and that's fine with me!