Lost in Austen
This book, the latest attempt to capitalize on Jane Austen’s recent popularity, is an interactive novel where you, the reader, as Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine of Pride and Prejudice, must make choices that will lead to a happy marriage to a rich gentleman. If you make the wrong choice, it can be disastrous, or it can lead Elizabeth into the plots of Austen’s other novels and encounters with such characters as Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility, Mr. Knightley from Emma, and Captain Wentworth from Persuasion. Along the way, you gain or lose points for confidence, intelligence, and fortune and compile lists of accomplishments, failures, and connections.
As a long-time admirer of Austen (and someone who enjoyed the Choose Your Own Adventure books as a child), I wanted to like this book. The idea of an interactive book that combines the plots of Austen’s novels is certainly a clever one, and it could have been very enjoyable. But it was not well done, in my opinion: most of the alternative endings, which I’m sure were meant to be funny, were silly, violent, and melodramatic, and not in the spirit of Jane Austen. So, unfortunately, I cannot recommend the book.