Can a Jane Austen story end with the heroine losing the guy?
For the record, it can’t. Neither can Becca Wilhite’s “My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions.”
It’s Sarah Howard’s first year in college, (Yes, a young adult book that takes place in college! Hallelujah, it exists!) and all she really wants is a romance, preferably with a guy named Ben in her art class.
And the kind of romance she wants? Jane Austen-style, baby! So, when Ben shows interest in her, she’s the most excited person in the entire galaxy. But it’s not really getting through to her that he actually likes her and isn’t just playing some period novel-inspired game. However, it can end up with me viciously slamming my head against the wall.
Don’t get me wrong, the book is nice — adorable, even. As an Austenite, I love the parallels and I love Sarah’s love for Austen’s works. It manages to embrace the stereotypes while mocking them in a cute way.
But, as a normal human being who understands why others do certain things, Sarah may be one of the most oblivious protagonists I’ve ever read about — and I’ve read “Twilight.” She just doesn’t understand that Ben likes her. During the last scenes of the novel, she’s lamenting about how she and Ben are star-crossed; meanwhile, he’s practically professing his love for her through romantic guitar playing.
Seriously, Sarah? I know you don’t want to, but use your brain!
However, if you can survive the mind numbingly oblivious Sarah, you get the beauty of her hero. Ben’s not your typical Mr. Darcy — he’s far from perfect, and has a lot of flaws. But, damn! He’s something to fawn over. Plus, he serenades Sarah with his swoon-worthy singing and guitar playing.
How could you not love him?
With summer approaching, I’d say it’s a great beach book: short and cute enough to keep you interested, yet easy enough to put down.