Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman, 2006
I was intrigued by this book because of the story's opening premise: Julie's favorite book is Pride and Prejudice. She is dismayed when her best friend, Ashleigh discovers the book and adopts it as her latest passion. Ashleigh assumes the speech patterns, dress and mannerisms of Jane Austen's heroines and integrates them into her daily life. When she decides she wants to search for her "Mr. Darcy" she enlists Julie to help her crash a dance at the nearby private boys' school. Julie thinks of it as the "Snoot School Dork Dance" but they search out period dresses, learn to dance the quadrille and plan to get into the dance.
At the dance Julie meets her "Mysterious Stranger," the boy she has seen around town, who is a student at the school. Parr is a really nice guy and Julie is smitten. Unfortunately, Ashleigh has decided Parr is her Mr. Darcy and she keeps trying to convinice Julie that Parr's friend, Ned, is Julie's Mr. Bingley. Julie is torn between her interest in Parr and her friendship with Ashleigh.
I liked Julie very much. An only child, she lives with her mother and visits her father who left to marry the "IA" or Irresistable Accountant. Julie is like so many kids who are the victims of divorce. She is trying to keep some semblance of a relationship with her dad so she keeps her feelings to herself.
Shulman writes with a eye to Austen with her use of capitalization and tongue-in-cheek humor. This is a very lighthearted read. Entling no. 3 told me it was really "fun."