Anyone with a college education can clearly—and sometimes painfully—recall being assigned some of literature’s classic works. Sometimes they were enjoyable—hello, Greek mythology! Sometimes, not so much– I do not care what anyone says, Les Miserables should have stayed on the shelf and out of my backpack. Fortunately, our suffering was not in vain. We have now been rewarded with the hilarious Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters by Mallory Ortberg (Henry Holt & Co., Nov. 4, 2014).
If you give Circe a smartphone, what would she text? How about Lizzie Bennet’s mother? This hilariously modern take on some of literature’s best known characters answers that question. Funny and irreverent, Text from Jane Eyre stays true to the characters. From an angsty teen Hamlet to an easily fooled Ron Weasley, Ortberg flawlessly captures the spirit of the beloved characters while translating their hijinks into roughly 160 character.
Before my good and proper book readers bemoan besmirching their favorite works, fret not. One of the best things about Texts from Jane Eyre are the in-jokes. It’s almost enough to make you reread your freshman English syllabus. Well, almost.