Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters


It's official! Jane Austen has no doubt rolled over, and over, and over again in her grave. In fact, she's probably kicking and screaming, pounding the walls of her underground wooden solitude using words like, it is not merely this affair on which my dislike is founded!

Perhaps to make her works more appealing to MEN, her tales of love and romance have been mercilessly invaded by first, the brain-eating, the scab-forming, walking corpses of gray loose and rotten flesh. Now it's muscular green Stretch Armstrong sort of men with tentacles where they shouldn't be, and I have no doubt aliens will be landing with Anne and Captain Wentworth in Lyme by this spring.

I'm not the first to notice this modern manification, or shall we call it - the "Horrification of Jane Austen", Misfit Salon also has a great link on this here, and I really can't complain because I gave the first offshoot 4 stars for crying out loud, but this one...well, I'm sorry to say it was hard for me to finish. Painstakingly hard. Not because of the writing. Ben Winters is a good writer, by my standards anyway. Maybe my normal tolerance level to B Movie Austenite violence was breached like the hull of a sinking ship after Zombies.

Illustration by Shane Harrison

Maybe I just didn't find the idea of sea monsters, such as man-eating octopii, hammerhead sharks, giant clams, amoeba-ish creatures absorbing unsuspecting humans whole, etc., trying to kill all the main characters, again and again, interesting enough after the first 100 pages or so.

Maybe not enough of the original story was included in this sea monster dance of death to hold my attention throughout. I believe this was mainly the case. I've read the original novel numerous times, and although it's not my favorite, not even close to being as witty as her others, I still enjoy many elements of this story, and I absolutely love the movie versions. The romance, the betrayals, they play out well on the screen. Here, although initially fun, it got old after the first ten deadly encounters or so.



If you like this sort of thing, then this book is for you. For me, it just wasn't a good fit for this particular story.

Maybe it's because I don't like to eat sushi, or shrimp, or lobster, or any other poor sea creature! But I would love to learn to knit! That counts right? Maybe?
2.5 stars

Helluva Halloween Challenge
Everything Austen Reading Challenge

10 comments:

Amanda said...

On the one hand, I'm sorry to hear this one didn't live up to the humor of P&P&Z. On the other, I love the action figure picture.

So do you think this kept less of the original text than P&P&Z?

Lula O said...

Oh, a lot less. He completely changed big elements in the story, making it much more his own than Jane Austen's. His name should've been first with the title.

And yes, it just wasn't as funny as P&P&Z, but to be fair, the original wasn't as witty as P&P either.

Lula O said...

Oh yeah, doesn't that picture remind you of Skeletor and He-man. Remember those action figures? It's a little young for me, but my sisters had the whole set up, the castle, the dragony creatures they would ride. Wasn't there some kind of weird chant he did?

Lula O said...

Also, currently working on the Harry Potter book 7 review/quiz. Prepare to be stumped woman!

Amanda said...

Oh yeah, I recognize the action figure! That's what made me laugh. Can't wait for your quiz. I"m much less familiar with the 7th book than the rest.

Jason Gignac said...

Ms Lula - (heh-hem) that would be 'By the Power of Grayskull, I have THE POWER!!!!' Immediately followed by "He-Man! (Duh-dum-dum, duh-dadada-dum, Doo-doo-doowe-doo...)"

Lula O said...

Ooo, I was so close! Hope you still have these in your possession Jason. Might be worth something, in a couple hundred years.

Jason Gignac said...

Actually, I never owned a He-Man, but when we were in Germany, that was one of only a very few kids shows we got on base tv. So I saw it - I was never a huge fan.

Rebecca Reid said...

*shudder* I grimace at the thought of this book.

Jason Gignac said...

Yeah... I don't know abotu the whole Blank and Deadly Blank trend. I mean, it seems like somethign that is really funny over french fries and milkshakes at Denny's at midnight, and woudl get old fast...