Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg
fulfilled the category “Book
in a Format I Do Not Normally Read” for the PopSugar 2021 Reading Challenge.
This was a tough category for me. I typically have an e-book, audio, and print story
going at all times. (Yes, three different titles.) I read graphic novels all
the time too. The Facebook group helped suggest other formats. I checked out a
Webtoon (Freaking Romance), a novel in verse (Booked), and a
nonfiction behind-the-scenes photo book of The Umbrella Academy. I
figured you all have already heard enough about my obsession with the show.
Then Texts from Jane Eyre appeared in the return bin at work.
The 240-page book is an imagining of great literary icons
texting each other. It’s
hilarious. It’s divided into five parts and seems to be organized by timeline.
The oldest references are first, though the last is dedicated to young adult and
children’s books. (But Atlas Shrugged was in there. Maybe it was more modern
characters.) Not that it matters. You can skip around and read in any order.
Many characters have multiple conversations within their section. As a reader,
we can listen in to Jane Eyre, Ismael, Harry Potter, Hamlet, and many more.
Some sections focus on the author rather than the characters, such as the Leaves
of Grass texts.
A small warning. I, an English major and avid reader,
didn’t know all the background of the characters used. Some I had to look up,
some I just read with the knowledge I wouldn’t understand everything behind the jokes. The book is very
much for the literature nerd who’s read Harry Potter and the Babysitter’s
Club. When I bragged about picking up the title for the prompt, a few in
the PopSugar FB group warned me it was high-toned, super nerdy. I scoffed,
thinking I knew it all. Nope. I don’t remember my Gilgamesh or Daisy
Miller among the several others.
I liked this book on its own merit but also, as I am now homeschooling a junior in
high school, I liked it as a teacher. What a great activity to do with a
reluctant reader to have them create texts about literary characters. It can
also check understanding. Did she laugh at the Gatsby joke, or should we review
Daisy’s character again? Anyway, it had some great deep insight into these
classics with fun jokes and pokes at authors.
I give Texts
from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg Four Literary Classic Texts. (See what I