VOYA on “Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer”

Says Deborah L. Dubois in the June 2015 edition of VOYA: “This is a ‘speculative biography’ as the author notes in the introduction. Pliscou uses extensive sources to recreate Jane Austen’s childhood, sharing vignettes of her early life, each beginning with a drawing illustrating that aspect of her life. Jane’s story is told as through the eyes of a child with the limited understanding a young girl might have of the world around her. Specific events in Jane’s life — such as being sent away to school and becoming deathly ill, and having one brother adopted by a wealthy family while another is sent away due to mental illness — may have later shaped her novels. Pliscou shares these events in the context of the time in which Jane lived. The narrative ends as Jane turns twelve and begins to write in earnest.

“The second half of the book is annotated with extensive notes showing how Pliscou created Jane’s story from information gathered from many sources, including quotes from Austen’s books that give insight into her thinking. Background information on Jane Austen’s life and work, and the era in which she lived is included, as well as a timeline of the events in the narrative. This is a beautifully crafted book with an old-fashioned style that almost feels like the diary of a young girl of the eighteenth century. This would be a good companion to a unit on Jane Austen’s novels. Fans of Austen’s work will enjoy this peek into her life as a young girl.”

 

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More about Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer here.