Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer by Lisa Pliscou
Paperback, 188 pages
April 20, 2015
Genre: Speculative Biography, Young Adult
Source: Received from Author for Review
What was Jane Austen like as a child? What were her formative influences and experiences, her challenges and obstacles, that together set her on the path toward becoming a writer?
Drawing upon a wide array of sources, including Austen’s own books and correspondence, Lisa Pliscou has created a “speculative biography” that, along with 20 charming black-and-white illustrations, offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of young Jane Austen. Also included is a richly detailed, annotated version of the narrative and an overview of Austen’s life, legacy, and the era in which she lived, as well as a timeline of her key childhood events.
YOUNG JANE AUSTEN is sure to intrigue anyone interested in Jane Austen, in writing and the creative process, and in the triumph of the artistic spirit.
I should start this review by saying…I’m not a Jane Austen fan! SHOCKER!!! I’m never interested in the Austen spinoffs, sequels, prequels, what-have-you that have come out in recent years. However, something about Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer stood out to me. I think it was more of a stylistic thing rather than the content that lead to me picking it up.
There are 2 “versions” of the book included here: the illustrated version at the front and the annotated version at the back. They both tell the same basic narrative, except that the annotated version contains expanded information. In the illustrated section, each chapter is 4 pages comprised of a beautifully scripted title page, 2 pages of narrative, and 1 page of illustration. The annotated version includes the same narrative as well as other helpful information to expand the understanding. When I read this book, I bounced back and forth alternating between reading the illustrated chapter and then the corresponding annotated chapter; I think this made for the most fulfilling reading experience as I could apply the notes right to the story being told. Despite the actual text length only being about 80 pages (each version) I felt like I actually learned a lot in that short time.
While the book is definitely designed for the younger YA set, I found it a very enjoyable read. The illustrations are a nice touch to the overall approach to the book. If you or a young reader like Jane Austen, then you will enjoy this book for sure. Even if you are not a Jane Austen fan, you will likely enjoy this book too, I did.
If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not check out this visual sneak peek?
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