Book Review: Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters

Image for the cover of Text From Jane Eyre

Title: Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters
Author: Daniel Mallory Ortberg
Pub date: 2014
ISBN: 978-1627791830

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First impressions: Imaginary and imaginative text messages from fictional and non-fictional characters that will have you in stitches.


Originally appearing on The Toast (RIP), Daniel Mallory Ortberg cultivated a following with their insightful, witty, and often painfully funny recreations of texts as if the characters and persons from the literature and history were writing them. Ortberg takes no prisoners covering from Gilgamesh to The Wife of Bath to Gone With The Wind. From Scarlett’s drama with Rhett and Ashely to William Blake’s texting his wife that no, he did not draw anything horrifying for her.

Examples:

Jane Eyre
Rochester: JANE / MY LITTLE SUNBEAM / WHERE ARE YOU / I NEED YOU BY MY SIDE
Jane: I’m taking a walk / be back before dinner
Rochester: AH YES MY CAGED SPIRIT / COMMUNE WITH NATURE AND UPON YOUR RETURN RELATE TO ME THE VAGRANT GLORIES OF THE RUINED WOOD
Jane: do you really want me to describe my walk with you
Rochester: MORE THAN ANYTHING YOU POCKET WITCH
Jane: it’s fairly cloudy out / looks like rain soon
Rochester: AHHH TO THINK MY LITTLE STARLING JANE SHOULD RETURN / TO PERCH ON MY BROKEN MALFORMED SHOULDER / SINGING A SONG OF GREY AND WRACKING SKIES / MAKES MY HEART SWELL TO BURST
Jane: all right

Even Jane is included:

Pride and Prejudice
Mrs. Bennet: You must see to it your sister invites Mr. Bingley, Lizzie
Lizzie: He isn’t here, Mother
Mrs. Bennet: isn’t here? / He must be here / The ball is in seven days / and if he is not here then how will we convince our Mr. Darcy to attend?
Lizzie: Mr. Darcy is not here either
Mrs. Bennet: no? / But I thought he was in London / for business / and return in time for the ball
Lizzie: No / he’s not in London / he is on a ship / he is going to war
Mrs. Bennet: but this is terrible news
Lizzie: There is an actual war going on right now / against Napoleon
Mrs. Bennet: How could this have happened
Lizzie: He was commissioned months ago
Mrs. Bennet: And Mr. Bingley?
Lizzie: Probably yes

Texts from Jane Eyre is an anthology of sorts that you can dip in and out of and the chapters are well marked if you’re looking for a particular text to make the dipping in and out of easier. Clocking in at 240 pages, it shouldn’t take you too long if you read them from start to finish (which I did).  90% of the texts are hilarious while some are obviously Ortberg phoning it in but overall, whether if you’re an avid reader, like satire, or need a gift for someone who seems to have it all, you can’t go wrong with Texts from Jane Eyre.

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