Tag Archives: Mallory Ortberg

Book Review: Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg

18 Apr

My friend Katherine is a big fan of Jane Eyre. Getting her a book called Texts from Jane Eyre was an obvious Christmas present in my mind. Katherine told me how much she enjoyed the book and recently told me she reread it and still found it funny. When I had no audiobook and a lot of driving ahead of me, this seemed like a good choice to fill the silence.

Cover Image via Goodreads

Cover Image via Goodreads

Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters by Mallory Ortberg

Summary from Goodreads:

Everyone knows that if Scarlett O’Hara had an unlimited text-and-data plan, she’d constantly try to tempt Ashley away from Melanie with suggestive messages. If Mr. Rochester could text Jane Eyre, his ardent missives would obviously be in all-caps. And Daisy Buchanan would not only text while driving, she’d text you to pick her up after she totaled her car. Based on the popular web-feature, Texts from Jane Eyre is a witty, irreverent mashup that brings the characters from your favorite books into the twenty-first century.

I loved parts of this and other parts went completely over my head. Even in books I’d read and liked, there were references I didn’t get. In The Outsiders, my favorite book, I was laughing so hard I almost pulled over at jokes about how all gangs watch sunsets and read poetry and how Soc is pronounced, but I didn’t think the bit about how blue Darry’s eyes are was funny at all. I don’t remember that being a big part of the story. The stories I wasn’t familiar didn’t do much for me (Sweet Vally High or Rebecca for example) but there were some really good jokes about those I did know, like Edgar Allen Poe and Ode to a Grecian Urn. So I would say this was very hit-or-miss with me.

Being a comedy, all of the characters were way over the top. The ‘straight man’ in every conversation, normally an unidentified ‘friend’ not in the work, is the voice of reason and the literary figure, be it Emily Dickenson or Daisy Buchanan, is there to make you laugh. I wish the straight man had more often been a character from the book. There are great examples of when this happened (Babysitters Club, Jane Eyre, Harry Potter), but most of them did not.

I thought my favorite bits would be from Harry Potter or The Outsiders, but I honestly think Hamlet was one of my favorites. He was the perfectly sullen boy who hated everything and his mother doted on him, hoping to make him happy. It was really funny and he was revisited a few times in the first part of the book so the joke was continued for a while and wasn’t a quick passing bit like so many others.

Mallory Ortberg Image via Slate

Mallory Ortberg
Image via Slate

I did, however, really enjoy the short Harry Potter bit. I appreciate all references to wizards having no common sense about money or numbers because I honestly can see how that would happen.

I was really disappointed in the Great Gatsby bit. I think Ortberg could have done so much more with Daisy and I thought the two short bits about picking her up after a car crash were a bit repetitive. Oh well. Only so much I can expect someone else to do with one of my favorite books.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Amy Landon and Zach Villa. It was nice to have two genders do the narration for this because it was easy to tell between the speakers in the text conversations. There were some conversations where the conversation needed to be two men or two women. I thought Villa did a better job at handling this. Landon’s two voices were too similar in my opinion and I had time distinguishing who was speaking in a two person conversation. I didn’t have that problem with Villa.

Writer’s Takeaway: The comedy in here was really smart, though not always up my alley. I think it’s good that Ortberg did bits from so many works and writers. It almost assured that there was something in there for every reader. There were some more I wish she’d done, including Frankenstein and Stieg Larson’s Millenium series but I’m not complaining too much. It was funny and I laughed, some more than others. I think she should have picked bigger themes in some of the works because, as in the case of The Outsiders, even for a fan, it seemed obscure.

I liked some of it and didn’t get other parts of it. So that’s hit-or-miss to me. Three out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg | Expandingbookshelf
Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters, Mallory Ortberg | Books j’adore


WWW Wednesday, 13-April-2016

13 Apr

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!


The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.

SparrowCurrently reading: It’s been great to work on Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling lately. I love this story and there’s so much I’ve forgotten since I last read it. I’m half way through now!
I wasn’t doing too well with A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin and then I lost the hold! I still have the physical audiobook but I have to finish Child 44 first so as of now, this one is unfortunately on hold.
I don’t think I’ve read any of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson since last week. Being on vacation slowed that down a lot. If you’ve been here a while, you know I’m slow on ebooks anyway. This one will take a while.
Slow progress still on Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. I’m still not enjoying it much at all. The narrator does a terrible Russian accent for each character and I can’t see any semblance of a plot yet. It’s very meandering and there were two prologues which turned me off right away.
While I’m waiting to get A Clash of Kings back (again), I started listening to Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones. This is a book that appeared on the book calendar I had in 2013 that grew my list exponentially. I’m glad I found it on eaudio.

Texts from JaneRecently finished: Hoping my loss of Martin would only be 24 hours while the system reset, I took Mallory Ortberg’s Texts from Jane Eyre with me on a business trip. It was really fun and passed the hour drive quickly. Review to come next week.

Two reviews to share! I posted my thoughts on Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut on Friday. I liked it enough though I probably would have liked it more had I read it in a shorter time-span. Three out of Five stars.
I also reviewed Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller while I loved. I’m excited to talk to my book club about this one in a few weeks and see if anyone else felt the same.

VirginReading Next: Next will likely be The Virgin Blue by Tracey Chevalier for my book club. This is one I’ve had on my shelf for a while because I’m a fan of Chevalier’s books. I suggested it for the book club and they said yes! Hahaha! I’m hoping to finish Potter before I start this, but no promises with how long it takes me to get through one of those in Spanish.

Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!