PS. Make sure you enter awesomesauce tour contest! *snork* The prize, while great, is very Emma-ish in it’s delivery. 😀
♥ Guest Post ♥
Meeting Jane Austen
By Cecilia Gray
I was fourteen years old when I spent a few weeks backpacking through Europe with my best friend. We slept in hostels, camped in the woods, and took up residence at pool houses within gorgeous Oceanside villas.
Along the way, each stop had a small collection of books with the same suggestion (although written in French or Italian, usually): if you like a book, take it with you and when you’re done, leave it for someone else to read.
I picked up a few books this way, including a collection of Jane Austen’s six novels. I read through them over the course of two weeks and fell in love – not really with Darcy and Knightley (although they weren’t bad) but with Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse in particular.
I had just moved schools (away from my best friend, le sigh), and whereas in my old school I had been well-liked and popular, I was having trouble fitting in with my new town.
It’s really easy to know when you aren’t fitting in. Because:
(1) You sit alone at lunch,
(2) No one wants to be in your group during lab or group work, and
(3) Whenever the people around you are talking about what party they are going to over the weekend, you have no idea where it is located.
Before then, popularity had always been a pretty easy gig for me up until then. I was competitive and whereas at my old school – where competition was welcome because we all wanted to be the best – at my new school it was frowned upon. This wasn’t the case anymore. In my new school, I was considered too sarcastic, too harsh, and incredibly snobby.
I had been, up to that point, toying with the idea of changing myself to fit. I could try to hold back more, challenge people less.
Thank goodness for Jane Austen, because by the time I finished her books I was convinced of one thing: as long as I am not being cruel or mean, I should be myself. Anything else was a waste of everyone’s time.
I did not become popular. (Big surprise.)
But I did find my tribe – a group of like-minded girls who were a lot like me. Not in every single way – that would be boring. We ran the range of being athletic vs brainy vs musical, but we all got each other.
If you’re a fan of Jane Austen, you might think it’s weird to read her books about class systems and difficult parents and long, pastoral walks in the English countryside and come away with the message that it’s okay to be a go-getter.
But that’s the beauty of Jane Austen. Everyone who meets her finds something different to love.