Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jane Austen Ruined My life... where I rant about love.. Description: English professor Emma Grant has always done everything just the way her minister father told her she should -- a respectable marriage, a teaching job at a good college, and plans for the requisite two children. Life was prodigiously good, as her favorite author Jane Austen might say, until the day Emma finds her husband in bed with another woman. Suddenly, all her romantic notions a la Austen are exposed for the foolish dreams they are.

Denied tenure in the wake of the scandal and left penniless by the ensuing divorce, Emma packs up what few worldly possessions she has left and heads to England on a quest to find the missing letters of Jane Austen. Locating the elusive letters, however, isn't as straightforward as Emma hoped. The owner of the letters proves coy about her prize possessions, sending Emma on a series of Austen-related tasks that bring her closer and closer to the truth, but the sudden reappearance of Emma's first love makes everything more complicated.

In the end, Emma learns that doing the right thing has very little to do with other people's expectations and everything to do with her own beliefs. Laced with fictional excerpts from the missing letters, Jane Austen Ruined My Life is the story of a woman betrayed who uncovers the deeper meaning of loyalty.

I will start by saying the review I am writing is a different review than I had in my head. My feelings for the novel took a dramatic turn on page 261. Up until then, I was most certainly going to write about how it was a ridiculously predictable tale about a woman who is unlucky in love and makes stupid decisions that don’t help her at all. She marries the wrong guy and is oblivious to the good guy in love with her yada yada yada. Not to say that page 261 is so life altering that it negates the ridiculous eye rolling that preceded it. But page 261 is redemption from turning this into a, I can’t believe I wasted my afternoon to a, I get, I really do.

“Heartbreak is more common than happiness. No one wants to say that, but it’s true. We’re taught to believe not only that everyone deserves a happy ending, but also that if we try hard enough, we will get one. That’s simply not the case. Happy endings, lifelong loves, are the products of both effort and luck. We can control them, to some extent, and though our feelings always seem to have a life of their own, we can at least be open to love. But luck, the other component, well, there’s nothing we can do about that one. Call it God’s plan or predestination or divine intervention, but we’re all at its mercy. And sometimes God doesn't seem very merciful. “pg. 261…

This paragraph resonates so much with me. There are so many factors that determine who you meet, how that meeting will go and if you meet again. So many factors that dictate mutual like and respect. Mutual attraction, availability and willingness to work through obstacles are just a few factors that determine who you ever even begin a relationship with. And even more that determine how long it lasts.

I am a firm believer that there are many people you could be happily in love with forever, but love takes work. It’s not easy. It takes two people who work super hard to make it happen. And as the male characters point out, it’s not a happy ending that women should be seeking out; it should be the happy BEGINNING. Because if finding the person you want to be with your whole life is the end, what is the point? How good can life together be if that is the ending? Life is just beginning. There are so many new adventures to go on. To be hung up on a happy ending is quite ridiculous. Yet many women are raised to believe in this notion.

I see so many friends turn down opportunities to meet people or go on another date with someone for STUPID reasons. They are looking for that knight in shining armor instead of a decently nice guy. They find ANY imperfection to not pursue something. I want to grab them and shake them and tell them THE REAL WORLD IS NOT LIKE THAT.

Here is me being completely honest. I love my husband. Do I think he is my true love? No, because I don’t believe in true love. I think I could have easily fallen in love with someone else. He is not the only one out there for me. But, I made a commitment and it may not be an easy one and some days I may wonder what the heck was I thinking, but I did this. This is what I chose. Could I have made other choices and have been equally as happy? I think so. Did I have other options? Yes. But love is all about choosing and time. And a little luck.

Do you believe in happy endings?

This book was read for the 10 books picked by my readers for me to read in 2010!


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I really like that quote and with you on your opinion about happy
endings. I am actually kind of glad that I am goign to be the last person in my group of friends to get married. I think I have a more realistic idea of what marriage is all about. the rose-colored glasses are off and I know it's hard work - but it's worth fighting for. I am lucky to have girlfriends who are honest about the ups and downs of marriage. But they always remind me that it's worth the ups and downs.

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

Wow, that quote is pretty eye opening. I have obviously been struggling with this exact subject for the past year or so and have recently began to agree with your opinion. The liklihood of a "soulmate" and "true love" is so small that I feel to believe in it is only setting yourself up for failure. I completely agree that you can fall in love and be happy with several different people.
I really want to read this book... going to check and see if there's a good used copy on Amazon now... ;)

Amber said...

Couldn't agree with you more.

And it's the people like us, who are in long-term relationships, who have hit rock bottom and come back, who have worked through the INCREDIBLY HARD times that realize that love IS about choosing. I choose to love Eric and stay with Eric every single day. Some days that choice is easy and some days it's difficult. But the day that we stop choosing each other is the day we won't be together anymore. It's not about "the one" it's about making the choice to make him "the one".