BOOK TO MOVIE REVIEW: Austenland by Shannon Hale

I had had this movie on my Amazon wish list for months.  I wanted something new and fun to watch.  Finally bit the bullet and got it.  I watched it a few days later and was hooked from the very beginning.   I have watched it multiple times since and my daughters love it as well.  I was even more excited to find out that it was based on a book.  I added that book to my Amazon wish list as well but then found it cheaper from Thriftbooks so I ordered it from there instead.  I couldn’t wait to read it and was happier to see that it was only 194 pages.  Something that would be a quick and fun read.  

First off the movie is properly Austeny.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I felt like it was something that in my mind could easily compete with Emma or Pride and Prejudice (of course the 1995 BBC version).  The movie is adorable and cute.  Aside from a few harmless kisses the movie is clean.  I mean I allow my 8-year-old daughter to watch it.  The characters are fun and loveable. The “Mr. Darcy” character is sublime and perfect in every way.  I was excited to start the book.  I started the book and immediately realized that the movie was very very loosely based on the book.  Sure some of the characters’ descriptions are the same as are some of the dialogue.  
As I read the book I had a hard time reminding myself that the book came first and the movie was second.  I had watched the movie so much that I kept telling myself that “that wasn’t what happened in the movie”.  I wish they would have left some things in the movie from the book.  Like Jane sneaking out to Martin’s house to watch basketball games with him until all hours of the night.  The biggest thing I wish that they would have left was the fact that Henry actually chased Jane.  He literally brought a plane ticket and followed her on the plane. Sure the movie version of him following her to her apartment to return her sketchbook was sweet.  However, following her on a plane even though he is terrified of flying is even more romantic.

The last thing that I think should have been left in was Mr. Nobley buying her and leaving a paint set in her room.  That was a sweet gesture that would have helped us realize that he does have feelings for her.  Of course, there were a few other things that should have been left in but I don’t have the time to go into all of them.  In the end, definitely watch the movie but also read the book.  It adds a whole new dimension to the movie that I think is wonderful.  I will be watching the movie for years to come. 

Pick up your copy of Austenland by Shannon Hale HERE and your copy of Austenland the movie starring Keri Russel HERE.

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