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>Sense and Meta-bility

>Marilyn Sachs meta-fictionalizes Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen in her new novel, First Impressions (Brodie/Roaring Brook, 2006). After positing in a term paper that P&P is “really a tragedy that just got away from the author” and whose true fulcrum is the hardly-mentioned sister Mary Bennet, Alice is forced by her teacher to do a thorough rewrite–of the paper, but Alice instead finds herself irresistibly drawn to rewriting Austen’s novel, despite the ample good reasons for not doing so provided by her life as well as by the spectral presence of Austen herself. Sachs’s book is ambitious but sweet, too–although I still think there might be something to Alice’s original theory. I guess that makes me an Austenite.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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  1. Anatidaeling says:

    >I can’t wait to read this! I’ve always identified with Mary, and a good friend of mine writes Austen fan fic. I *try* to write in Austen style as an exercise sometimes, but find it very difficult to do. So, I already feel involved in this story on many levels. I’m really looking forward to reading this book.

  2. ifahren says:

    >What a riot! Mary as the fulcrum. I almost need to take a turn about the room to recover myself. Thanks for the tip. Time to feed the Austen addiction.

  3. rindambyers says:

    >Oh, me, I fear I am sadly a rigid Austen purist…and will simply re-read the originals one more time…discovering new and ever more subtle flavorings to satisfy each time….but then I always chooose vanilla every time I enter Baskin and Robbins, too. Hmmm. I promise to at lesat try different flavors from now on, however…

  4. Anatidaeling says:

    >Vanilla is delicious! But White House ice cream, for instance, is wonderful, too. White House is vanilla ice cream with bits of cherry and, I think, chocolate chips, but you can’t enjoy White House unless you like vanilla, the basis of the whole thing. In fact, tasting White House can give you a whole new appreciation for vanilla. How succulent on its own, yet how well it complements other flavors!

    But I know what you mean about being a purist. I’m an Oz purist myself, and I just couldn’t read Wicked, no matter how many trusted colleagues and effusive reviewers sang its praises. To me, it was just an intrusion into my personal relationship with L. Frank Baum, KWIM?

  5. rindambyers says:

    >Oh, I don’t feel so ALONE anymore as a vanilla fanatic. thanks!

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