Mother and Daughter Time

Mother and Daughter Time

Before I begin, I beg your forgiveness if this is a bit scattered. I promise it will all come together by the time we reach the end.

As many of you know, I have a teenage daughter. She and I are very close. She is my theater buddy and we are able to talk about almost anything (I’m not foolish enough to believe she tells me everything). The one area on which we always butt heads is Jane Austen. She has sworn she will never read P&P (which leaves the door open for karma to make it a requirement in a future class) and she walks out of the room when it is on tv. I have gone so far as to dedicate one of my books, Georgiana Darcy, Matchmaker, to my daughter as she was the inspiration behind the story, but she will never know because she refuses to read anything related to P&P.

Last weekend, I had the greatest fortune to attend the first JAFF Writer Reader Get Together just outside Washington, DC. Everything was amazing! The energy and excitement of being together with people who do what you do and love what you love … indescribable. The information which was shared was priceless.

On Saturday, Abigail Reynolds was talking about clues Jane Austen left which were clear to readers of her day, but not so much to us (“he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do.” = he kissed her!). The next morning, my daughter joined me in my commute to the event as she was going to spend a few hours with her boyfriend. I took the opportunity to use some of Abigail’s more scandalous comments to try to lure my daughter in and tempt her to read the forbidden text. I believe she was amused, but not hooked.

A few days later, her drama class went to see Sense and Sensibility performed at Virginia Commonwealth University. I was soo excited. (“Yes, Mom, I know it is Jane Austen, but it is not P&P and I get out of school for the day.”) She loved it! (“Not because it was Jane Austen, but because of the direction and the way the actors portrayed some of the characters.”) Apparently, John Dashwood was a fop who made grand entrances (normally on furniture) and the “gossips”, aka ensemble, really made the show. (“I’m still not reading P&P.”)


I know I’m not the only parent to go through this. Some of the other authors on this site have also written blogs about getting their kids to read and/or appreciate Austen. The problem I see now is that this has become a matter of … (wait for it) … pride. My daughter is determined not to read or like P&P while I cannot wait until she does. We are very determined people in my family. You will not force us to do anything we do not want to do, even if it is for our own good, or perhaps especially if it is for our own good. Pigheaded, that’s the best word for it. So what’s the next step? Like I said before, she has cursed herself. Sooner or later a teacher is going to assign the reading or, and I think this is my favorite scenario, she is going to end up in a production of Pride and Prejudice. She really is a true Elizabeth Bennet type, if I do say so myself.

UPDATE: I let her read this before I posted it. (“I will never be part of a P&P production!”) Let Karma have its way. 😉

8 Responses to Mother and Daughter Time

  1. I had to laugh. My daughter loves my Regency romance but is not fond of my P&P’s because she doesn’t like Pride and Prejudice. I will say this, that I do like Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but I do find it a little hard to read at times. (I’m on my third/fourth? reading) I am wild about the P&P variations. Probably because they are not 100% Regency language and a little easier to understand. I do believe there are subtleties in Austen’s writing that because we are 200 years later, we don’t catch them. I still have hope for my daughter too. 🙂

    • See, I knew I wasn’t alone. When my daughter read my blog, she said, “It took me a full minute to read that one line from P&P. That is why I will never read it.” I’ve mentioned before that I am a bit of a history nut – my family not so much. I love the language from that time, but I agree, it can be hard to read. I tried to reread Northanger Abbey before the JASNA AGM and just couldn’t do it. But I can blow through a variation in a day without problem. She might, eventually, take pity on me and watch a movie, but, unless she is forced to do it by someone other than me, I doubt she will read it.

  2. That was hilarious. Please keep us posted and use the largest Emojis you can find for the post in celebration. LOL!!

  3. Never say never! But, we can’t / shouldn’t force our values on others… Too bad you can’t “encourage” one of her teachers to have it as mandatory reading. 🙂 I didn’t read it until later in life. I’m sure it will sneak up on her at some point. Good luck!

    • Although I read the Brontes when I was her age, I did not find Jane Austen until I was in my 40s. Because we have so many similar interests, my daughter would probably like the story but, like her father, the language of the time throws her. It has become a running joke now – I predict we will have conversations some 15-20 years from now that will be similar to ones I had with my mom around that age. “You were right. I apologize for (insert behavior here). I should have listened since you know better.” 😀

  4. It would be nice if it did happen that way for your daughter, she does sound like a Lizzy Bennett!lol Hopefully she will read it at some point and that will be a really behind for the two of you! I’m the only one in my family that likes Jane Austen but I keep hoping someone will read one of her books and join in too. I guess we just keep hopin!

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