Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on November 4th 2014
Genres: Books-About-Books, Classics, Funny-ha-ha
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Also by this author: Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters
Hilariously imagined text conversations—the passive aggressive, the clever, and the strange—from classic and modern literary figures, from Scarlett O’Hara to Jessica Wakefield.
Mallory Ortberg, the co-creator of the cult-favorite website The Toast, presents this whimsical collection of hysterical text conversations from your favorite literary characters. Everyone knows that if Scarlett O’Hara had an unlimited text-and-data plan, she’d constantly try to tempt Ashley away from Melanie with suggestive messages. If Mr. Rochester could text Jane Eyre, his ardent missives would obviously be in all-caps. And Daisy Buchanan would not only text while driving, she’d text you to pick her up after she totaled her car. Based on the popular web-feature, Texts from Jane Eyre is a witty, irreverent mashup that brings the characters from your favorite books into the twenty-first century.
PLATO: okay Glaucon so
i want you to picture a cave full of prisoners
who have been in the cave their whole lives
and they’re all shackled up in a line facing the back wall
GLAUCON: my god
what a nightmare
those poor people
Texts from Jane Eyre is a compilation of Mallory Ortberg’s regular contribution to The-Toast.net. Ortberg reimagines famous literary characters’ conversations via text, from classic figures like Medea and Don Quixote, to more contemporary ones like Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen. Ortberg’s writing is witty and smart, yet remarkably still holds true to the original works the texts reference.
KING LEAR: okay who wants a kingdom
me I do
how much do you love me
oh my god
how much DON’T I love you is a better question
i love you like i love eyes
or outer space
or standing up
or even this question
ahhhh that’s so much haha
After Emily Dickinson, some of my favorites in this collection were King Lear and Hamlet. As a Shakespeare buff, these made me bust up laughing. Ortberg strips the story down to the nitty-gritty in a way that is like nothing I have ever read – think No Fear Shakespeare but ruthlessly bitchy. She is the snarky classmate I never had, blatantly calling Hamlet a little shit, and Plato and William Blake psychopathic monsters (which they totally are).
LORD BYRON: uuuuuuuughhh
nothing’s any good
what’s the matter
do you realize i’m never going to be able to have sex with the rain
i didn’t know you wanted to have sex with the rain
of course i want to have sex with the rain
how can you even say that
i feel like you don’t even know me
Beware! I suspect this book is only hilarious if you have a working knowledge of the classic and modern tales Ortberg pulls from. While I knew the bulk of the stories, the last time I read a few was more than a decade ago; some of the more recent books I have never read, like Sweet Valley High or The Babysitter’s Club. I didn’t read or reread anything, because yikes, but I did hit the highlights on the internet for more LOLs – and it was totally worth it.