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Drawing the Line

July 28, 2010

I am what some people might call a literary snob. I can assure you it’s not something that has come slowly over time, like going from a New Kids on the Block fan to abhorring anything that could be described as a “boy band.” Oh no, this is something I’ve had from the beginning–since first learning that y is sometimes a vowel.

While my classmates reveled in the literary stylings of RL Stine, I reserved my reading for such classics as Louis Sachar and his hilarious stories of sideways schools. While my friends tried to find out if their teacher is an alien, I would be imagining myself as part of the adventures of Samantha Parkington or Felicity Merriman.

Later, I learned of the glories of Austen, Bronte and JK Rowling. Now, as someone who gets completely and utterly captivated by a book and emotionally invested in the lives of its characters, I can see why people have the urge to write fan fiction. I would be ecstatic if I could continue reading about the adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione. I wonder myself how Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are faring or if Jane and Mr. Rochester ever went to his cottage by the sea (actually…I can’t remember if that detail is in the book or just the movie…forgive me).

But I must draw the line. And that line is here:

photo via Amazon

And this is just one book in a series. And this series is just one of many that take their characters from Jane Austen’s imagination. I think it bothers me because those characters are Jane Austen’s and only she would know what happens to them.  Also, what does it say about us that there are dozens of these types of books that are actually deemed worthy of being published? What happened to creating your own characters?

Like I said, I can see why these types of books are appealing, but it still bothers me how often I see them on the shelves of Barnes and Noble.

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