Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary CharactersTexts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters by Mallory Ortberg
My rating: 4/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

so, it’s probably more like a 3.5, but i’m in a good mood.

two words of warning – 1) if you have the ARC of this, like i do, know that the formatting is frequently all kinds of jacked up, with missing words, text-bubbles on the wrong side of the conversation, attributed to the wrong character and etc etc. but you’re a smart kid, you’ll figure it out.

2) some of these are better than others. duh, right? but the byron one? i don’t even understand what that one is all about. okay, i understand it, but i just think it’s a little soft, and that’s not just my byromania talking. okay, it kind of is, but it is just a little sad for me to see byron reduced to some emo kid, which is NOT how i see byron in my heart:

uuuuuuugghhhh my life
what is it?
what’s wrong?
is there something specific that’s the matter?
or anything I can do to help?
my liiiiife

do you want me to come over?


and yet, despite it basically being the same joke, and despite my love for Hamlet being about as strong as my love for byron, it is WONDERFUL to see the continuing teen-trums of hamlet running throughout this book.

the good thing about this is that you don’t have to have read the source material to get the jokes; i haven’t read Atlas Shrugged or any of the harry potter books, but again – we’re smart kids – we can figure out what is being gently mocked.

for example, i have also never read an american girl book in my life, but this made me laugh pretty hard:

Harriet –


Mother wanted me to ask you
if you’d like to go to the fair tomorrow with us

Did she now

since we’ll be working at the same booth together
all afternoon
Father’s offered to give us a ride in his wagon

oh, his milk wagon?

his milk wagon
He only has the one wagon
you know that

Like father like daughter I suppose
he only has one wagon
and you only have one dress

You can just say no, Harriet
if you don’t want to come with us
you can just say no

do you even know how many dresses I have

I’m sorry if I insulted you
you don’t have to come

I have seven dresses
I have a dress for every day of the week
I have a dress for Monday

look I’ll see you tomorrow

I have a dress for Tuesday
on Wednesday I have a different dress

and on Thursday you have a fourth
I get it

do you though

I think I grasp the prinsiple of the thing

oh my God
Addy Walker

how DO you spell principle, Harriet?
is it with an S?
or a C?

you are going to be so sorry that you ever –

Maybe we should ask a spelling expert
Maybe we should ask someone who won

that you EVER –

a spelling
for spelling the word principle correctly
I only have the one dress so you can see the medal every day


and yet, sometimes it’s the attention to detail in books i am all-too-familiar with that make the joke even funnier. like this baby-sitter’s club giggler:

Hey Claudia
I know math is really tough for you
but even you should know
that two dollars an hour
for six hours
means we’re at least twelve dollars short
of what should be in the treasury

i know how much twelve is, Kristy
and i didn’t take your stupid money

all I’m saying
is that someone that good at hiding candy in her room
probably has a few great places to hide twelve dollars
like maybe in an incredibly ugly macrame wallet with velvet appliqués

yeah well
at least my dad still lives at home
unlike some people’s dads
unlike your dad


however, my favorite FAVORITE section was probably the one for The Outsiders, even though it’s basically just repeating the same joke over and over. i don’t care, though, because it is spot-fucking-on. warning – may contain spoilers for a 47-year-old children’s book.


hey how do you pronounce “Soc”


i mean is it like “sock”
because it looks like that’s how you’d say it
but in my head I think of it as being pronounced “soash”


like rhymes with cloche

I guess that makes sense

why do I even know what a cloche is
what kind of a gang is this

what do you mean

i mean i feel like we’re different from other gangs 

different how

i don’t know i guess

we’re just a bunch of regular beautiful guys who like to read poetry and get in knife fights


nothing like putting your hair in place
stabbing a rich guy
then talking about Robert Frost in an attic with another guy
if that’s different, then i guess i’m different

no you’re right


man you know who i hate


guys with green eyes
or i guess
MOST guys with green eyes
would you say my eyes are greenish-gray, or grayish-green

i don’t know

your eyes are icy blue, so they’re always icy blue
but sometimes my eyes are more greenish-gray than grayish-green
which i think is better


hey do you want to come over and watch the sunset

yeah okay
i guess so

okay great
i mean it’s the same sunset as the one at your house
so don’t expect anything big

i won’t

i really think they’re more grayish-green right now than anything else

yeah maybe

not green like Darry’s anyhow
they’re green like ice, but bluer than that
I really need to update my eye color journal

your what?

see you soon for the sunset!!!


so what did you think

what did i think of what

what did you think of all the drawings of Dally i sent you

oh yeah

do you think he’ll like them?
do you think they’re any good

there sure are 
a lot of them

do you think i made his eyes look enough like blue ice
that was really what i was going for
because his eyes look like blazing blue ice

i definitely think you did

oh good
i was kind of worried
 that they didn’t look enough like blue ice that’s blazing

no, they’re–
you did a really good job
they’re really nice

well i wanted to do something special for his birthday
and it was either this or a switchblade
and i figured everyone else was already getting him a switchblade


what’s a guy gonna do with six switchblades, you know?


such a thing as too many switchblades
anyhow i’m glad you think they’re good


you want one?

i think i’m okay

i can draw you one real fast
it won’t take two minutes

no i’m okay

i’ll draw you one just in case
his eyes look like blue ice
blue ice!


you awake?


what’s wrong?

i had that dream again


that dream where i got the haircut
that was the worst day of my life, the day Johnny cut my hair

yeah i remember

if a guy doesn’t have his silky reddish-blonde hair that’s just a little redder than Soda’s and swirls just right
well what kind of a guy is he?

i don’t know

plus it was real sad when Johnny died, too


died before his hair could even grow back

i remember

his hair looked terrible when he died
i was embarrassed to even go to the funeral

yeah me too


all of the above are available online here, so i didn’t feel bad reproducing them, because there are still bazillions that are book-only and some that are site-only, so it all works out in the end.

to save review-space, i am going to link to a couple of others i giggled at parts of, but not with as much as force as i did for The Outsiders.

emily dickinson

little women

william blake

and because i am a maniac, and this one isn’t available online (that i could find), i am going to wear my typing fingers to the bone just so you can enjoy the Wuthering Heights texts i liked so much, and which reads like the most melodramatic pseudo-sexting ever. super hot.

WARNING – MASSIVE, MASSIVE SPOILERS for a 167-year-old book

god i love you cathy

i love you too
i love you so much
it hurts how much i love you

i love you so much
let’s break each other’s hearts

oh my god let’s
i love you so much i’m going to marry edgar

i love you so much i’m going to run away

i love you so much i’m going to make myself sick

good that’s so much love

i love you so much i’m going to get sick again
just out of spite
i’ll forget how to breathe

i’ll be your slave

i’ll pinch your heart and hand it back to you dead

i’ll lie down with my soul already in its grave

i’ll damn myself with your tears

i love you so much i’ll come back and marry your sister-in-law

god yes

and i’ll bankroll your brother’s alcoholism

i always hoped you would


i love you SO MUCH
i’m going to write your name all over my books and then
i’m going to have someone else’s baby and then DIE

cathy yes that’s perfect
i’m going to kidnap your daughter someday
and i won’t let your nephew learn to read
because of how much i love you
and scream at your grave
and i’ll rent your room out
to some guy from London

oh my god thank you
thank you so much
i’m going to love you so much
i become a ghost

i’m so glad to hear that
i was hoping you’d say that

but i’m never going to haunt you
just that guy who’s visiting from london

that sounds perfect
i’m so excited to hear him tell me about what your ghost looks like

oh my god
what are you going to scream at my grave

oh man
what aren’t i going to scream at your grave
i’ll scream everything
i’ll scream your soul

good good

i’ll scream about what a bitch you were

i am so excited
i am going to just
ruin heaven with my screaming back at you

that is so sweet of you to do that

i’ll just murder everyone’s heart

i hope your ghost drives me crazy 🙂

i love you like how rocks love forests

i totally know what you mean

i love you like i love the inside of my own brain

oh my god that’s so much love

i knooooow
do you want to make out right now

god no
i want to wait until you’re dead
and then rip up the earth over your grave
and crawl inside


so, yeah, at the end of the day it’s just a silly little humor book, but for people like us who are booky, it’s one of the good ones.

i will leave you with this:

i have eaten the little red wheelbarrow
that was in the icebox
and upon which so much depended
forgive me
i don’t even know why i did that
i guess i thought it was one of those little ice cream cakes
you know the kind that they shape to look like cars or whatever
that shit was disgusting
hey do we have any ice cream cakes though


read my reviews on goodreads

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