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"Hilariously imagined text conversations--the passive aggressive, the clever, and the strange--from classic and modern literary figures, from Scarlett O'Hara to Jessica Wakefield. Mallory Ortberg, the co-creator of the cult-favorite website The Toast, presents this whimsical collection of hysterical text conversations from your favorite literary characters. 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"--
Well, at least it's a quick read. The copy I received is obviously not the finished version. The formatting needs some work, as it's hit or miss whether a text bubble fully encloses its text or indeed if there is a text bubble at all. I also noticed some typos and misnumbering of sections, along with the table of contents being unnumbered.
I'd expected the book to be a humorous riff on classic literature and, to a certain extent, it was. But a lot of it wasn't that funny, and came out of nowhere. The Agatha Christie section? Which is less than a page and only about racism? The Hunger Games section? Which has nothing to do with them at all, only a play on words?
I also don't feel that all of the sections relate well with their source material.
Mallory Ortberg writes for The Toast, on online website, where she writes a feature called "Texts From." Basically it's a hilarious feature about authors, poets, writers, and characters from all the above and what they would probably text if they lived during the age of cell phones. This is probably the funniest book of 2014.
This is the kind of book where you read silently to yourself while laughing out loud. Then someone asks about what you're reading, so you decided to read out loud to said person and they laugh. Others overheard and join in. Soon your solitude of reading turns into an event. But you don't mind because humor like this can't be contained withing the binding of a book.
This is a book that bibliophiles will get a kick out of. Everyone should add this to their bookshelf!
The texts are not just from Jane Eyre but also include Gilgamesh, Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, The Great Gatsby, The Outsiders, The Baby-Sitters Club, plus many more--- a wide range of ‘literary’ works. The book is divided up into four parts, though they are not yet titled, my guess is that they are grouped by timeframe (but some do not seem to fit so I am not sure). Some are short and some are a LOT longer than others but they are all displayed in text bubbles.
The concept sounded intriguing but I think it failed in execution. The only ones I found remotely funny were Plato and The Lorax—- maybe it is just my sense of humor but many I either did not understand or did not find at all humorous. I really wanted to like this book! Overall, not a book I would recommend.
This book is the perfect gift for any English majors or book nerds in your life.
In any event, for the well-read, the book is a gem, a thoroughly enjoyable and light read. For those (like me) with who only "get" around half of the jokes, it is still worth the experience, but perhaps one that leap frogs the more obscure references for the more accessible.
Here's Samuel Taylor Coleridge:
what if the moon was haunted
by women who had sex with demons
what if kubla khan made a whole dome
just for pleasure
and put an ocean underneath the ground
with no sun in it
i don't know
and rivers flung boulders up out of the earth at people
flung 'em right up at people's stupid faces
i guess that would be really something
you're damn right it'd be something
caves of ice
and ancestral war voices prophesying about damsels
and sacred rivers screaming beware
and your hair would float
ugh hang on
there's a guy here
be right back
- Hamlet texting HE'S NOT MY REAL DAD WHY DO YOU EVEN LIKE HIM
- Peeta texting Katniss about a "frosting emergency" while she's busy hunting.
- And Ron falling for a Nigerian prince scam because he doesn't understand how credit cards and technology work, resulting in an epic face-palm from Hermione.
This isn't a book I'd rush out and buy but if you happen to see it at your local library, pick up a copy to keep on your coffee table to look at while someone is watching a show you have no interest in.
The literature used is fairly diverse (Gilgamesh all the way to The Hunger Games). Some entries parody the actual book, others the author/poet, and others the characters of the book.
I think the test of a parody is if it's still funny even if you don't know the original source. There are plenty of books included that I have not read, but the texts were still very humorous. For the most part, as long as you have a basic understanding of the author or story, you can get most of the jokes.
As I mentioned, the majority of these stories did in fact go right over my head because like hell I’m attempting to read Atlas Shrugged. Or Moby Dick for that matter. I haven’t given up hope that I may actually conquer Gone with the Wind though. Despite my occasional confusion, the combined narration of Amy Landon and Zach Villa still managed to make this a vastly entertaining couple of hours (the audiobook is a mere 2h 22m long). The various different accents they implemented made this feel at times like a full cast narration. I downloaded the eBook as well in order to capture screen shots and I must say that while the passages were funny, having this read to you was an altogether different (and better) experience. A brief visit to sparknotes.com to get the gist of the classics did prove to be helpful if you wish to take the time to become quickly acquainted with the lesser known characters. As for the ones I did know that required no introduction, such as Sherlock, they were so hilariously and accurately depicted that I found myself rewinding and re-listening because I was often laughing too hard to hear the whole passage.
Other favorites were Ron telling Hermione about the magic “credit cards” he signed up for (Harry Potter), Peeta’s frosting emergency (Hunger Games), and the hilarious harassment via texting from Mrs. Danvers (Rebecca).
Suffice it to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this one and highly recommend the audio edition. Mallory Ortberg successfully added a modern flair and humor to literature’s most treasured characters, bringing them to life once again and reminding us what made them memorable in the first place.