Have you noticed the chest-beating pride we Mormon Women take in our deathless devotion to all things Jane Austen? Kind of annoying, if you ask me (and it’s my blog, so you’re asking.) Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy Jane Austen movies for many reasons: great dialogue, gorgeous scenery, good acting. But I wonder: what’s the obsession? Why Jane and only Jane? And when did building an Austen video library become a legitimate example of Provident Living?

Funny how nobody even mentions the books anymore. (I’m chastising myself here. I read Emma a few years ago, and P&P; in high school, but that’s about it.) I own–and love–a couple of JA movies, but I have aquaintances whom I suspect watch only Jane Austen, be it produced by BBC, A&E;, or Paramount. They own any and every Austen DVD available: old versions, new versions, versions based on her novels, versions based on her writing of the novels, versions based on people having book clubs about her novels. Desperate contemporary writers have even published “sequels” to Pride and Prejudice, or Darcy’s Story (I swear it exists), telling Mr. Darcy’s side of his turbulent romance with Miss Lizzie. And oh…to be Miss Lizzie. Every LDS woman’s first(?) and finest fantasy.

C’mon, ladies…haven’t we milked this cow dry?

It’s just that it’s become so predictable. LDS Mom=Jane Austin Devotee. I’m suspecting it has to do with losing ourselves in a world wherein women don’t clean bathrooms or change diapers or even do their own hair. A gracious cook announces dinner is served instead of us serving it. Combine these savory morsels with the “clean” factor, and you’ve got a hit with maxed-out moms. Which is a good thing. Sure.

I’d just like to occasionally enjoy a movie that we haven’t all seen seventeen times. I’m understating here; you know you’ve seen Emma many more times than that. I’d like to watch a good film that occurs in this century and hasn’t recycled the same six actors repeatedly to fill the lead roles of it’s innumerable re-makes. I’d like studios to produce clean movies, made for grownups, that rival Ms. Austen’s wit and storytelling. I’d like to appreciate Jane Austen without only appreciating Jane Austen, as our particular female culture seems bent on doing. Every ward book group I’ve joined, every ward girls’ night I’ve attended, every conversation about movies among LDS women, the main attraction is always the same: Jane, center stage. Time to think outside the box, I’d say.

This post has really worn me out. I’m gonna make some popcorn, grab a quilt, and pop in Sense and Sensibility. Forget everything I just wrote. Willoughby is hot.

One thought on “The Jane Austen (a.k.a) Relief Society Book Club

  1. Sorry about the wacky fonts and deleted comments on this post–something got lost in translation when I switched to WordPress. (But thanks for your many former comments!)

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