When life throws shit our way, we often turn to our favorite books or movies. It is the predictability in a sea of chaos that may be the one thing that gets us through the emotional turbulence.
Austen Years: A Memoir in Five Novels, by Rachel Cohen, was published last year. About a decade ago, Cohen was going through tough times. Her father was on the verge of dying of cancer and she was near the end of her first pregnancy. Needing something to provide a source of comfort, she turned to Jane Austen.
In this memoir, Cohen weaves her story with Austen’s while exploring the emotions and narratives within the novels. She writes about dealing with grief, loss, change, and watching your children grow up.
I really enjoyed this book. While reading it, I was reminded why after more than 200 years, Austen is still beloved as an author. The experiences of the characters are thoroughly human. The feelings are ones we can all relate to. If I were to make a list of books for newbie Austen readers, this one would be on the list. There is just enough detail to hook the reader, without going deep into the nitty-gritty details that only a longtime Janeite would understand.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
Austen Years: A Memoir in Five Novels is available wherever books are sold.