Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg

20695981I went back and forth about reviewing this book. Considering I spend most of my times reviewing nonfiction tomes, it felt weird to review such a short, fun bookette. But Texts From Jane Eyre has become one of my go-to recommendations. It’s an inside joke to all of my fellow book nerds, that yeah, Scarlett O’Hara would totally have texted that annoying crap.

The premise is simple enough-what if classic characters from fiction were able to text? Although it seems like a one-note joke, I never got tired of it. Mallory Ortberg imagines texts from Jane to Mr. Rochester, Lizzie Bennett to her mom, Captain Ahab to Ishmael, and Nancy Drew to Ned, just to name a few. And as someone who decided to spend her childhood buried in a book rather than socialize with other humans, a shout-out to my elementary school jam, The Babysitters Club series, had me howling.

babysitters Hey Claudia
I know math is really tough for you
but even you should know
that two dollars an hour
for six hours
means we’re at least twelve dollars short
of what should be in the treasury

i know how much twelve is, Kristy
and i didn’t take your stupid money

look
all I’m saying
is that someone that good at hiding candy in her room
probably has a few great places to hide twelve dollars
like maybe in an incredibly ugly macrame wallet with velvet appliqués

yeah well
at least my dad still lives at home
unlike some people’s dads
unlike your dad 
Kristy

It’s just now occurred to me that this review could just devolve into me quoting bits from this book, so I should probably pull out of this tailspin now—OH WAIT I DON’T CARE HERE’S ANOTHER GOOD PART ABOUT EDGAR ALLEN POE HOPEFULLY THIS COUNTS AS FAIR USE WASSUP

porhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
Hi
ok don’t be mad at me 
why?
i feel like you’re going to be mad at me 
or like you’re mad at me 
or something
so don’t be mad at me 
you’re not coming
i can’t coooome to the thiiiiing tonight
i’m so sorry
you can’t leave the house?
oh my god i canNOT leave the house
I feel like that’s turning into a thing with you
what do you mean 
well
like last week
you couldn’t leave the house
because you were too busy looking at a bird
is it the bird thing again?
hi
whoa
hi
whoa
i wasn’t LOOKING at a bird

wow where is this even coming from
the BIRD
wouldn’t stop LOOKING
at ME

okay
that’s a really big difference
anyone can look at a bird
i could go look at a bird right now if i wanted
i could go look at the same bird
he’s still fucking here
not that you asked

I literally just did ask
fuck you
why can’t you leave the house
oh my god
where to even START
there’s a heart in the floor
and it will not shut uppppp of beating
but that’s not even the main thing
there’s a cat with one eye that keeps calling me a murderer
well
did you murder anyone?
wow
you know what you sound like right now?
do I sound like the cat
you sound like the cat with one eye
I’m just asking because you said you had a heart in the floor
I said there WAS a heart in the floor
not that i HAD a heart in the floor 
there are a lot of reasons a person could have a heart in their floor
not just murder reasons
thanks a lot though

 

Phew, I think I’m done for a minute. Some of the literary references went over my head, but that actually didn’t really dampen my enjoyment of this book. For those of you still on the fence, you can check out The Toast, where the joke originated. But there shouldn’t be any of you on the fence. Texts From Jane Eyre is a great read, one worth pouring over again and again to pick up all the jokes you missed the first time around.

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