Monday, February 10, 2014

Biography, a review of Jane Austen A Life Revealed by Catherine Reef

Courtesy of Goodreads
Her books have been read and re-read. Whether it is for leisure, scholarship, or just to soothe the inner romantic in us, Jane Austen’s novels have transcended her time and become even more popular than during her life. Catherine Reef creates a story much like Jane Austen in an attempt to portray Austen’s life that was filled with love, heartbreak, disappointments, and celebrations not just in her own success but the successes of her close family and friends. The biography of Jane Austen’s life gives new insight not just to a lover of her work, but a person who has faced challenges, tragedies, and sometimes achieved the impossible—even for being a woman. In addition to giving insight into the life and times of Jane Austen, she shows how an author from centuries ago is still influencing and captivating her audience in new editions of her books, cinema based on her work, and the popular culture that would take her work in order to cross the genres with zombies, sea monsters, and more.

It is difficult not to show my admiration for Jane Austen. However, I was surprised to find that although many have written about her work and life, no one had written a biography for the young adult reader. Biographies can be difficult to get through but Reef seems to tie together Austen’s life, family, and writing in a way that almost reads (if not for the dates given) as if it could be happening today. Reef includes information on what has been done with Austen’s work today, provides graphics from film, documents, and utilizes the Austen’s voice frequently to connect the reader not to some dead author, but a person who lived, and not always according to what others said. I would recommend this book for a female young adult audience aged 15-19 primarily, although with the proper introduction and programming it would be suited for young adult male as well. As I said, the author gives insight into the journey of a growing woman, and a developing author.

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