Sunday, January 24, 2010
A game? A book? A Jane Austen choose your own Adventure??!
So when i was in elementary school I read my fair share of choose your own adventure books. It was the eighties, and they were the literary equivalent of Madonna or Michael Jackson. No jokes.
According to Wikipedia:
"Choose Your Own Adventure was one of the most popular children's series during the 1980s and 1990s, selling over 250 million copies between 1979 and 1998, and translated into at least 38 languages.":
Which I suppose shouldn't surprise me since I can vividly remember them linning those spinning metal school library shelves.
Emma Campbell Webster has made the foray back into the genre, for adults, with Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure.
I got this book as a christmas gift either last year or the year before, and to be frank? I picked it up once and just couldn't get into the whole choose your own adventure aspect. Somehow it just seemed too active, probably because Emma adds a whole list, and points system to the book which I don't recall having in the old Choose your own Adventure books. But after the fun I had with Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, I was jonesing for more Austen and gave it another whirl.
I chose to ignore the lists and points (which Emma acknowledges is easily done in the How to Play section), and just enjoy the story. I was horribly disfigured by a gang of gypsies by the first choice of the book and lost.
Now my husband has confided to me that he only ever read one choose your own adventure, it was Indiana Jones, and when he died he quit reading and never read another choose your own adventure ever again. He thought it was cheating to keep going after you die. Needless to say, I've always been a bit of a cheater, and I (like every other child that's ever read a choose your own adventure, EXCEPT my husband) skipped past my disfigurement, back tracked to the choice, and kept right on going.
After ten minutes of reading I was howling with laughter, Emma's wity take on Austen's novels (you start in pride and prejudice but your choices can lead you into any of her other plot lines and charecters), is dry and modern.
"Add "Ability to Be Happy in Reduced Circumstances" to your Accomplishments. You'll need it at this rate."
""Oh Certainly, Mr. Darcy! No one can be really esteemed accomplished who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with. A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and all the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air an manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved."
It is all you can do to refrain from laughing out loud at this picture of perfection..."All this she must possess," adds Darcy, "and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading."
You are no longer surprised at his knowing only six accomplished women, and rather wonder now at his knowing any. No wonder he didn't think you adequate enought to dance with.
You own list of Accomplishments is wanting, to say the least. For the chance to gain a new one answer the question below and follow the instructions below to find out what you have learned!"
I think this book would make a fun drinking game for a girly night in, or just an awesome way to score a giggle on a bad day. I'm not sure if I can get dedicated enough to stick it out long term and compelete all the story arcs, but it's a fun thing to hark back to on the book shelf when I need a little fun in my reading routine.
Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure, By Emma Campbell Webster
Published by Riverhead Trade, August 2007.