decorating a room of one's own - abrams - feature - this one

On Our Bookshelves – Decorating a Room of One’s Own

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BOOK: Decorating a Room of One’s Own

AUTHOR: Susan Harlan

YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2018

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The subtitle of this book,”Conversations on Interior Design with Miss Havisham, Jane Eyre, Victor Frankenstein, Elizabeth Bennet, Ishmael, and Other Literary Notables,” says it all.  Either you will find this a delightful literary romp, appreciate the nod to Virginia Woolf in the title, and enjoy the slightly ridiculous humor, the affectionate take on both home decor and classic fiction, and the truly insightful wit, or you will think the entire enterprise is baffling and pointless.

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I found it rather delightful myself. If you, like me, dearly miss the Toast, and are intrigued by the possibilities of conversation between Becky Sharp and Jane Eyre, or King Lear and Boo Radley, you will love both the absurdity and the profundity of this collection.  Yes, profundity: pushing back against the sexism in some classic literature through mockery is an absolutely brilliant way to reconcile both the sincere fondness for and the serious cultural critique of these works.

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The illustrations, by Becca Stadtlander, are also terrific: her takes on Count Dracula’s coffin, Miss Havisham’s wedding cake covered in cobwebs, the wardrobe that leads to Narnia (from the Professor’s Book-Filled Bachelor Pad for Children Fleeing Air Raids), and so forth, are perfectly suited to this project.  I was equally impressed and amused by the cleverness of it all, and would very much like to spend some time with the brilliant women behind this most original volume.

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RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best): 3 1/2 Whistles

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HOW TO PURCHASE: Amazon

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Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.

Laura can be contacted at laura@newswhistle.com

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Lead-In Image Courtesy of Abrams Books

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An Infamous Army, Georgette Heyer

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