Friday, June 17, 2016

Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg

I thought I would lighten up my reading a bit. I came across Texts from Jane Eyre in my library's ebook collection. Since I had just read Jane Eyre I decided to give it a try. I had no idea what it was. A modern retelling of Jane's story? Its cover led me to believe it might be funny. 

Well, I hadn't read the small print - And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters - so little did I know that it really is a book of text messages. We hear from William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, Lord Byron, Virginia Woolfe, and a host of other literary stars. Then there are the imagined text conversations between fictional characters: Jo and Meg from Little Women, Catherine and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, Our Miss Jane and Rochester, Elizabeth Bennett and her mother from Pride and Prejudice, and Scarlett and Ashley from Gone with the Wind. Nancy Drew and Ned also make an appearance. 

Some entries are short while others go on for a little longer. The punctuation, spelling, and abbreviations are spot on - at least 21st century-wise.

Here is an example - an exchange between Thoreau and Emerson:

im going to the woods ok
im going to live deliberately
with essential facts
im going to suck all the marrow out of the
so dont follow me
how long are you going?
i dont know
however long it takes to live deliberately
so maybe a few months
or maybe forever gonna live in a cabin
i'm happy for you
can i use your cabin
you want to live in my cabin?
well i dont have a cabin
i need to be self sufficient
so i need to use your cabin

This cracked me up. 

These chats are imagined by author Mallory Ortberg and even the ones from books I haven't read (Sweet Valley High, The Baby-Sitters Club) I found to be amusing. They range along the literary timeline from Gilgamesh to Harry Potter.

To really get into the spirit of things, I read this book via the Kindle app on my phone because after all, it is a collection of texts...

Literary lads and lassies, rejoice. It won't change your life, but if you want a gentle chuckle or two, this is your book.


  1. I read this not too long ago, and it was good for a few chuckles. Sometimes we really just need something to make us smile and laugh.

    1. Hi, Kathy. I agree. We need to lighten up sometimes! I got quite a few laughs from this book. Plus I liked being in on the 'jokes'.