Jane Austen in Boca
by
Paula Cohen

JA in Boca
Hardcover - 288 pages (2002)
St. Martin's Press; ISBN: 0312290888


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        Written by Marlene (11/26/2002 9:26 a.m.)
I had a wonderful time reading the new novel JANE AUSTEN IN BOCA by Paula Marantz Cohen. Set in a Jewish retirement community in Boca Raton, Florida, the novel re-tells PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, with the two heroines, both in their seventies, Flo Kliman and May Newman representing Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. There are Darcy, Wickham, and Bingley counterparts, not to mention a matchmaking daughter-in-law filling the role of Mrs. Bennet! Not only does Cohen (also a Distinguished Professor of English at Drexel University) get the P&P parody right, but she also creates characters that have a life of their own within the confines of the wealthy Jewish Boca Raton milieu. A great read! I highly recommend it.

        Written by Southern Jenn (12/4/2002 7:54 p.m.)
I literally read it in one day. It's too funny! Bennets, Darcy and Bingleys as elderly Jews living in Boca Raton?! It's hysterical! Of course, it has minor flaws: rushed ending, etc... but it's all forgivable because it is just too too funny! A MUST for Jane-ites! Especially the shiksas!

           Written by Marlene (12/5/2002 9:29 a.m.)
I posted on this a couple weeks ago. It was a great read--the kind of book I hated to finish. I especially loved the Elizabeth character being portrayed as a retired librarian. A really positive depiction of a librarian, in contrast to the "old lady with her hair in a bun" image.

            Written by Lizzy M (2/11/2003 7:40 p.m.)
I finished it last night and I have to say I'm of two minds about it. It is entertaining enough, but I never rolled on the floor laughing. My favorite part is the penultimate chapter where all the residents attend the class on JA. That  reminded me of the very lively debates we had in the JA seminar I took last semester--and I  must say many of the undergrads in my class were very sharp and gave as good as they got, so I   had to chuckle at the not very flattering depiction of undergrads in the book. The "Lizzy" character never appealed to me; she had the bite of Lizzy Bennet, but, IMO, not the charm. Overall, it was an enjoyable enough light read, fun to figure out who represented who, but no threat to the original  (needless to say!). And what a way to deal with the Mr. Collins character!
           Review by Linda Waldemar, April 6, 2003
This is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice that is set in a retirement community where the residents are predominantly Jewish. I guess this just proves that Jane Austen's story is applicable to almost any ethnicity or nationality; it is universal!

The Elizabeth and Jane Bennet and Charlotte Lucas characters are friends. The Mrs. Bennet character is the daughter-in-law of the Jane character. She is much less obnoxious and very much smarter than Mrs. Bennet, though. The Mr. Darcy and Charles Bingley characters are friends who share a grandchild (one's daughter married the other's son). The Mr. Bingley here relies a bit less on his friend's advice and approbation, however. We also have a Wickham and a Mr. Collins. The major misjudgements and misunderstandings are here and the resolution is much the same.

Although there are a lot of Jewish phrases and in-jokes that I did not completely understand, I found the story to be very amusing, sometimes LOL funny. A really fun read.


        Written by Mary Frances 2 (9/29/2003 10:19 a.m.)
This was my quick weekend read. Cute, but fairly predictable. I did really like the chapter at the end where the Boca Festa residents are discussing P&P. All of the women sympathize with Mrs. Bennet for having the responsibility of marrying off five daughters while having a husband who only hides in the library with a book. Also, they think that Mr.Collins is so nice for trying to do right by the family and marry a daughter.

I think the book would have been funnier if they had been discussing P&P all along as the events paralleled the book. JMO. 
        Written by Lisa EBK (10/30/2003 2:37 p.m.)
I read most of this book but ended up skimming the last third. Really lost my interest. But it had it moments. Hope you enjoy it more.
        Written by Martha Ellen Mary (10/30/2003 3:32 p.m.)
I was given this book as a Christmas gift by my mother last year and absolutely loved it! I haven't read it since then, but its definately a book that I have to reread at somepoint when my life isn't as hectic. 
        Written by Tara O'Donnell (10/30/2003 8:25 p.m.)
It's cute-sort of The Golden Girls meet P&P:) I would say that it's a nice light read. 
        Written by Julie P. (10/31/2003 10:08 a.m.)
I read it in a day or so, and liked it a lot. It could be because I'm from the NYC area and know people who are just like Cohen's characters. 
        Written by AmandaC (8/2/2004 5:37 p.m.)
I just finished Jane Austen in Boca by Paula Marantz Cohen. And I was very unimpressed. The first half of the book I was trying to figure out which character was which and where in the world the author got that from! It was like P&P in circumstances only. Pretty pathetic.

Also, the attitudes of "Lizzie" and "Darcy" were way off mark. "Lizzie" was cruel, digging into what we are told is "profound grief," with a relish.

"Darcy" was not a villain in this book. Thus, "Lizzie" was the rude, cruel, heartless, prejudiced person. Not him.

It was disappointing at best. :(

        Written by JaneGS (8/2/2004 7:35 p.m.)
[I] thought it quite funny and an enjoyable read.