Book Review: Jane Austen’s Guide to Modern Life’s Dilemmas by Rebecca Smith

Quick Review (read on for full review)

Perfect for fans of Jane Austen, this book is both beautifully presented and a wonderfully engaging and entertaining read. Highly recommended. 4 / 5

Summary (from Goodreads)

Is the man I’m dating Mr. Darcy in disguise. . . or simply a jerk? 
It’s been two centuries since Jane Austen penned Pride & Prejudice and her many other classic novels, yet her adroit observations on the social landscape and profound insights into human nature are as relevant now as they were in her time. If only those of us in need of some good advice today had the opportunity to sit down and tap even a few drops from Austen’s great reservoirs of wisdom. Well, now we do. . . .
In Miss Jane Austen’s Guide to Modern Life’s Dilemmas, Rebecca Smith channels her great-great-great-great-great aunt’s sense—and, of course, her sensibility—to help readers navigate their most pressing problemsDrawing on Austen’s novels, letters, and unpublished writings, Smith supplies readers with wise and wonderful counsel for living well in the 21st century. From instruction on how to gracefully “unfriend” someone on Facebook to answers for such timeless questions as “Can a man ever really change?” this book enables readers to nimbly navigate life’s most tricky terrain with the good sense, good manners, and abundant humor that are the mark of any great Austen heroine.
Sensible, savvy, and funny, Miss Jane Austen’s Guide to Modern Life’s Dilemmas cleverly answers every Austen fan’s most earnest question: What would Jane do?  Replete with lovely Austen-inspired color illustrations, as well as quotes from Austen’s various novels to support the advice given, this book is the ideal gift for the Jane Austen fanatic in your life.

Favourite Quote

The following quote is included in answer to the question, “What should my book club read?”

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

(From Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen)


This is such a beautiful book. I read the hardcover edition and the way the book is presented is simply gorgeous. The illustrations are very fitting for a book that blends modern problems and historical solutions to them – just take a look at that tablet-holding regency lady on the front cover! And it’s also a fantastic read.

Clever, witty and well-written, this book is an easy, engaging read. Taking snippets from Austen’s novels and what survives of her personal letters to answer agony-aunt style questions, this light-hearted book is fun and even often sensible!

Broken down into six chapters: Love & Relationships, Friends & Family, Work & Career, Fashion & Style, Home & Garden, Leisure & Travel, it covers almost every aspect of life. And what’s more, I think there is a good chance the reader comes away from it knowing and understanding Jane Austen herself a little better. Her own charm, humour and intelligence certainly comes through.

An entertaining read, that can be read from cover to cover, or flicked through as the mood takes you. I read it from cover to cover myself, and thoroughly enjoyed it!

Highly recommended to those who need regency-era advice to tackle problems of the present day (such as, “How can I delete a contact on Facebook without causing offence?), or to those who simply enjoy the works of Jane Austen.



Book Review: The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend

growing pains adrian mole front coverThe Growing Pains of Adrian Mole is the second book in the Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend.

The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole follows on from The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 13¾, chronicling the daily struggles facing a teenager growing up in the 1980’s.  Of course, many of the problems faced by the teenagers then are still current for teenagers today.

As we move through another year in Adrian Mole’s life, we meet familiar faces (Pandora, Bert, Queenie and Nigel, to name but a few) as well as new ones (Brett and Rosie, for instance).  Not only does Adrian have to deal with life as he knows it, but there are now the added complications of being a big brother.  Can things get any more difficult for this adolescent intellectual who has still to find recognition?

This is a wonderfully funny book – in fact, whenever I need cheering up, it is usually to this series that I turn.  There is something so very astute and moving in the way Sue Townsend was able to capture the frustrations of growing up, and yet she did it in such a way that you can’t help but laugh.

And of course, the stark reality of living through the eighties is also well-documented in the story, as current affairs and issues of the day are vividly brought to life.  The cast of characters is quite simply amazing but nothing beats being able to see the world through the eyes of Adrian Mole.  His personality just lifts off the page.

A timeless classic that will take you on a roller-coaster of emotions.  It will however, leave you smiling. Highly recommended!