texts from jane eyre mallory ortberg

Texts from Jane Eyre: A Review

texts from jane eyre mallory ortbergDo you remember when you were twelve, and you and your friends really loved that thing, and you had your own code of inside jokes and lingo based on that thing? Reading Daniel M. Lavery’s Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters is exactly like that, if books are – or were – your thing. 

From the classics to the American Girl series, Text from Jane Eyre skewers characters and authors alike. Whether it’s Plato failing to explain the Cave Allegory to Glaucon, or Jo March growing increasingly dramatic as Meg’s wedding to John Brooke approaches, Lavery’s hilarious Texts will have you rolling with laughter.

Texts from Jane Eyre is wholly a product of its time. Sure, someone could have written Telephone Calls with Chaucer, but it just wouldn’t have the same appeal. Lavery’s book combines English major jokes with off-beat, Millennial humor.

Some prospective readers will be curious to know whether they will enjoy Texts from Jane Eyre if they have not read the lampooned source texts. If you’re one such person, the answer is “Yes, provided you have read at least something in your life.” While Lavery’s takes on Emily Dickinson, Lord Byron, and John Keats require some knowledge of those writers’ lives and dispositions in order to be fully appreciated, the author also sets his sights on The Lorax, Nancy Drew, and Sweet Valley High. The result is a funny, original book with a broad appeal. If you’re still not sure whether you’ll enjoy Texts from Jane Eyre, you can check out Lavery’s “Texts from …” articles – on which the book is based – at The Toast and The Hairpin.

With fandom in-jokes and memes taking the Internet by storm, Texts from Jane Eyre couldn’t have come at a better time. Everyone, from classics professors to teens on Tumblr, can find something to love and laugh at in Lavery’s humor collection. Pick up a copy if you need a laugh.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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